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Jefferies – Global subsea capex hits highest quarterly level for two years

unexploded ordnance North Sea
Ready for action: subsea power cable

Global offshore and subsea capital expenditure (capex) recently hit its highest quarterly level for two years, according to an industry database.

Analysis from Jefferies Financial Group found that in Q2 2021, capex was $8 billion (£5.78bn), driven by “several large subsea awards” for work in Brazil.

That is the highest three-month figure since 2019 and represents a quarter on quarter rise of 44%.

It means quarterly awards have now increased for three consecutive periods, according to Jefferies Global Offshore/Subsea capex tracker.

The database includes “quarterly backlog data” from Aker Solutions, Baker Hughes, TechnipFMC, Schlumberger, McDermott, Saipem and Subsea 7.

Subsea order intake in Q2 was $1.9bn (£1.37bn), double the quarterly average since the start of 2016 and the second highest figure since then.

Looking at the state of play more widely, awards in the first half of 2021 were $13.5bn, a 24% increase on the corresponding period in 2020.

Moreover, order intake in H1 2021 has already reached 62% of the total figure for 2020.

In contrast to the same period in last year, there were no offshore wind contract awards in Q2, Jefferies said.

The research body added that 2021 as a whole has been “busy but not windy” with no offshore wind contracts awarded so far, despite them dominating previously.

Instead, there has been a “sharp recovery” in subsea and conventional work, with “several large” awards in Brazil the “primary reason” for the buoyant quarter

Looking ahead, TechnipFMC’s Q2 2021 update of its global “subsea opportunities in the next 24 months” has grown to the highest level since the company started presenting such data back in 2017.

The analysis from New York-headquartered Jefferies comes as the global subsea market continues its recovery following the oil price downturn.

Energy Voice reported last week that two North Sea projects – Siccar Point’s Cambo and Repsol Sinopec Resource UK’s (RSRUK) Tain fields – have been tipped as future subsea tree awards to watch by Westwood Global Energy Group.

Further tree awards are forecast to come from Shell’s Whale and Crux developments, in the US and Australia respectively, and TPAO’s Sakarya in Turkey.

Together, the five projects are expected to deliver 37 subsea tree contracts by then end of the year.

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