The advancement in offshore oil exploration and production technologies calls for development of offshore support vessels market. Pipe laying vessel is one of the offshore support vessels used to support the offshore infrastructure. With increased offshore oil and gas exploration activities around the world the expansion of pipe laying vessel market is expected in the forecasted period.
Pipe laying vessels are constructed by placing pipes on the seafloor. Such vessels are meant to transport oil and gas from subsea well locations to production facilities and then further to onshore facilities. For different ocean depth scenarios the material of construction of pipeline vessels are different. This is because with increasing depths the water buoyant affects increase which affects the pipe lay process. For instance at shallow waters concrete is poured over the pipes for their correct positioning while in deep and ultra deep waters, thickness of pipes is increased to withstand the amplified hydrostatic pressure and maintain their arrangement. There are three ways of subsea pipe installation namely tow-in, S-jay, and J-lay. Pipe lay vessel is integral to the success of the set up. Numerous types of pipe laying vessels include J-lay barges, S-lay barges, and reel barges.
One of the key drivers of the pipe laying vessel market is the contribution of such technology in offshore oil and gas exploration operations. The increasing global population has resulted in widening of the power demand-supply gap. Hence, the nations world-wide are going for offshore explorations to be fuel sufficient and ensure their energy securities in the future. With newly discovered oil and gas exploration sites at ultra deep waters, the development of pipe laying vessel market is seen as a necessity. The enhancement of the pipe laying vessel features and functionalities to achieve operational efficiency tend to drive up the upfront cost of such vessels. Hence, high cost of the pipe laying vessels may affect the growth of such market in the coming years.
A number of projects have been taken up by the governments of Africa and Brazil to ensure exploration and production of their offshore reserves. Hence, the pipe laying vessel market is expected to experience highest growth in such nations owing to availability of numerous offshore oil and gas well, especially deepwater blocks over there. In Asia Pacific, pipe laying vessel market is assumed to show positive growth in India. This is because the New Exploration and Licensing Policy regime of India has resulted in a significant increase in its exploration and production activities. Europe is slowly recovering from its ongoing economic recession. Although it has undertaken several exploration activities, it may be cautious of its investment in such costly pipe lay vessels. Thus, such market growth in Europe is likely to be measured. The pipe laying vessel market growth in North America is also estimated to be sluggish due to the declining oil prices. The minimized exploration and production operation in Mexico resulting in low returns is assumed to intervene in such market improvement in the forecasted period.
The pipe laying vessel market segmentation is on the basis of end product type. There are mainly three types of pipe laying vessels namely J-lay barges, S-lay barges, and reel barges. The J-lay barges are suitable for ultra deep waters of depth between 500 to 4500 meters depending upon the diameters of the pipes. The S-lay barges are preferred in both shallow and deep water scenarios depending upon their pipe diameters. Reel barges have horizontal or vertical reel which the pipe is wrapped around. Such technology is used to reduce offshore pipeline installation duration.
Some of the key players in pipe laying vessel market are Royal IHC, Upetrom Group, Sapiem s.p.A, Van Oord among others.