Westwood estimates 2017 global utilisation reached a low of 32%, down from 55% in 2014. Top-tier ROV operators Oceaneering and Helix Energy Solutions quoted 2017 utilisation of 46%, and 42% respectively.

Over the forecast, the oversupply situation will ease, with utilisation levels expected to return to 50% by 2023. Whilst stable demand growth is forecast (2% CAGR), ROV expenditure is constrained at present by a slow recovery in day rates in what remains a ‘buyers market’. As utilisation improves, ROV operators can expect to see commercial terms moving in their favour.

Key Conclusions

  • WROV utilisation to recover from 2017 lows, but not expected to reach pre-downturn levels. Oversupplied market to be eased over the forecast.
    Global ROV demand to total 680,917 days over 2019-2023, growing at a 4% CAGR off the back of improved market conditions. Expenditure to total $6.9bn over the forecast.
  • Drilling support to be largest ROV market accounting for 40% of total expenditure, growing at 6% CAGR. The sector will lead by Latin America with activity in Brazil, Guyana and the Falkland Islands bolstering demand.
  • IMR support demand to increase 11% and expenditure to total $2.2bn over forecast, driven by an ageing installed base of infrastructure.
    Increased autonomy remains a goal for ROVs, with operations aimed at requiring less manned intervention.
  • Subsea resident ROVs (RROVs) remain a long-term goal for oil & gas operators, as developments are sanctioned in ever more challenging and remote locations.