Semi submersible rigs are specialized marine vessels and are specifically used for the offshore oil and gas drilling market. The growth of the offshore drilling industry in the future is likely to facilitate the market demand for semi submersible rigs during the forecasted period. Fixed structures are not feasible for carrying out offshore drilling activities which is why these semi submersible rigs are gradually coming into demand. The semi submersible rigs comprise of a deck supported by pillars, which are further connected to pontoons. The pontoons generally go entirely underwater and provide a platform which isn’t susceptible to ocean turbulence. These semi submersible rigs generally find the most applications in areas where the drilling depth is above 500 meters.
These semi submersible rigs make robust and stable platforms to effectively commence drilling of offshore hydrocarbon reserves. These semi submersible rigs can be towed into position using tugboats, after which they are anchored into place. Semi-submersible rigs also come equipped with dynamic positioning systems and azimuth thrusters which can help them maintain proper positioning without the use of external force.
Semi submersible rigs offer a number of advantages over other forms of drilling rigs. It is distinctly different from fully submersible rigs which rest at the bottom of the sea. Semi submersible rigs being disjointed from the seabed can operate in much deeper water as compared to fully submersible rigs. The semi submersible rigs offer high mobility and stability factors especially in a variety of marine conditions. These rigs can be towed at relatively faster speeds and can also operate in larger working areas. These rigs are relatively more expensive to build and operate but justify the initial capital investment over the long run. A major restraint to this market is that it requires large dry dock facilities for repairs. In the event of absence of such facilities, the rigs must be tower to large distances for repairing purposes thus increasing costs.
The rigs may be segmented on the basis of depth of water in which they commence drilling. The depths can be segmented as deep-water and ultra deep-water drilling operations. The rigs can also be segmented on the basis of the mooring systems used. The semi submersible rigs can use either active mooring or passive mooring systems. Whilst the active mooring systems rely extensively on thrusters and dynamic positioning capability the passive mooring systems rely on wires, chains or anchors to maintain a constant position. The offshore rig market has overshot the global demand in terms of supply and is essentially an industry suffering from overcapacity currently.
The Latin American countries along with Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela are some of the major global hubs for the offshore drilling industry. Mexico, Central and South America are showing an extremely attractive rig utilization rate which is a healthy indicator of growing demand in the future. The European offshore rig market is mature in nature and has shown very moderate growth rates since 2010. The Asia-Pacific demand for semi submersible rigs is likely to show attractive growth rates within the forecast period. The region has a semi submersible rigs utilization rate of over 70% and is likely to emerge as one of the most attractive markets in the future. The geographical market segmentation can be done as Asia- Pacific, The Americas, Europe and Middle East & Africa (MEA).
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Some of the major market players in Semi-Submersible Rigs market include Aker Engineering and Technology, Huisman Equipment B.V., Ocean Rig and CIMC group among others.