But fixed platform demand will increase in some areas.

The worlds’s most prospective areas will see an increase in subsea developments while fixed platforms will remain more common in mature areas.

Fixed platforms have traditionally been the mainstay of production in mature regions such as Asia, Europe, the North Sea, US Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and the Middle East, however, the future market prospects across these regions are mixed.

Limited growth
Infield Systems anticipates that growth prospects for the fixed platform market in the North Sea, US GoM and Asian regions will become more limited towards the end of the forecast period ending in 2016, as mature shallow water assets face production decline, remote deepwater production is likely to increasingly dominate operator E&P programmes.

Prospective areas
At the same time, however, regions which hold the potential for the greatest future offshore production may not prove suitable for fixed platform developments. This is the case with many of the major pre-salt discoveries offshore Brazil and Angola, as well as the significant natural gas deposits recently discovered offshore East Africa. In these frontier areas, a lack of existing infrastructure and greater water depths often make floating developments a more suitable solution for operators, according to Infield Systems.

High oil prices
However, oil prices have climbed and WTI averaged just over US$95 during 2011. This in turn have led the oil companies to maximise the production in mature fields, which often is in shallow waters:

-This has been the case particularly with Asian operators which form the cornerstone of the global fixed platform market and has driven Asian fixed platform market activity in recent years. As Asian hydrocarbon demand has soared, indigenous NOCs have expanded shallow water production, driving a growth in global fixed platform capital expenditure (Capex) of 55% between 2007 and 2011, according to a new Infield Systems report.

African market expected to double

Infield Systems forecasts that Africa’s share of global fixed platform Capex spend will almost double from just under 7% over the 2007-11 period to over 13% in the 2012 to 2016 forecast period. It is the operators Chevron and Total who are expected
to drive this growth in activity through their Angolan and Nigerian

13 % increase in Middle East

Fixed platform market prospects are also expected to remain strong in the Middle East which has seen strong hydrocarbon demand on the back of economic development
and population growth. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Saudi Aramco and the National Iranian Oil Company are expected to be the biggest players in the region and are forecast to collectively increase fixed platform Capex spend by over 13% between 2012 and 2016.

US GoM-increase in 2012

Meanwhile, in the US GoM, the Macondo incident, along with booming onshore unconventional gas production has led to a decline in shallow water production in recent years. However, Infield Systems forecasts US GoM fixed platform demand to increase in 2012, driven by major projects, including: Shell’s West Delta junction
platform and Arena’s Rikes project.

Good short-term market in Europe
Europe is also expected to see a buoyant fixed platform market over the next two years due to activity in Norway and the UK. BP’s Clair Ridge West of Shetland development is one of the most significant projects taking place, according to Infield Systems.

About Infield Systems
Infield Systems is an independent energy research and analysis company providing  up-todate data, market reports, mapping, analysis and forecasts for the offshore oil and gas and associated marine industries.