* This is a truly critical time for the energy industries and economies of Gulf states. Whilst they seek to reduce their reliance on oil and gas through industrial diversification, their goals of raising oil and gas output and productivity are more important than ever.
* Since energy revenues underpin most Gulf economies, the welfare of oil and gas business both on- and offshore is critical to the health of workboat operators, equipment suppliers, shipbuilders and service companies.
* New oil and gas concessions in Abu Dhabi and a series of transactions between Saudi Arabia and US energy contractors indicate a new round of investment and opportunities for asset owners and service providers in the region. Many thousands of jobs are likely to be created.
* Offshore infrastructure and many service assets are old and relatively inefficient. Yet digitalisation, state-of-the-art communications, high-speed broadband, remote monitoring and increasing automation are transforming the world’s most sophisticated offshore assets in other regions.
* We are on the cusp of a new spell of significantly increased capital spending which will see key producers in the Gulf making the most of international oil company and overseas contractor expertise. Their aim will be to transform ageing offshore infrastructure, raise the productivity of existing energy fields, and generate new revenue streams from additional reserves.
* This will include the introduction of new drilling technologies to raise the yields from offshore reserves, stimulating demand for state-of-the-art rigs, service boats, and other specialised assets.
* It may be easier said than done, but investing in a down-market invariably makes sound business sense, particularly when the first signs of an imminent and significant upturn become evident. This year’s Seatrade Offshore Marine & Workboats (Middle East) is taking place at just such a time.
Paul Bartlett (May 23, 2017)
Green Shipping Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime News
Paul Bartlett is a maritime consultant and editor of Seatrade's annual Green Guide and Middle East Workboat and Offshore marine publications, as well as being a former editor of Seatrade Maritime Review. Paul's vast experience of the maritime industry spans three decades and all the continents, and has included spells working in specialised ship finance companies.