A new survey conducted in advance of the Sea Asia 2017 conference finds that seven out of 10 maritime leaders in Asia believe that today's volatile oil prices are a structural – not cyclical – change.
Jarand Rystad, managing partner of leading oil and gas consultancy Rystad Energy, said that this question was a matter of active debate within the community. Oil prices have fallen by more than 70 per cent since mid-2014, cutting deep into revenues for oil majors and leading to the layup of much of the offshore vessel fleet.
"The continued growth of US shale fields and recent significant reduction in costs to develop this resource clearly represents a structural change," Rystad said. "The counter view is that shale alone still cannot balance the decline in supply globally. Therefore, conventional production from onshore and offshore will still be an important part of global supply growth beyond 2020."
The survey also found that only a quarter of respondents expect the maritime industry overall to rebound to pre-2014 levels within the next six months.
However, 80 percent said they were confident in the industry's long-term prospects.
80 percent cited the tonnage oversupply as the main factor behind the current down-swing.
David Roberts, managing director of The Standard Club Asia, said that maritime companies should keep a long-term view.
"In the past, the industry has been too focused on growth at all costs, and through this downturn we're seeing a positive shift of attitudes towards achieving efficiencies, cost-control, and sustainability. Companies should also take care not to reduce operational capacities too greatly, as they may find themselves behind when the market rebounds," Roberts said.