A severe shortage of deep-sea drilling rigs will hold up exploitation of offshore oil for years, the New York Times reports. Existing rigs are booked solid for five years, and shipbuilders around the world are scrambling to fill dozens of new orders. Oil companies are frustrated by their inability to get at huge, newly discovered offshore fields.
The squeeze on ship supply means offshore finds are unlikely to drive oil costs down any time soon, but the high prices will keep shipbuilders busy for years to come. “The oil reserves that were easy to reach are drying up,” said the chief of Samsung's offshore rig business. “The future is in exploring the deep seas and harsh environments.”