Multi-Purpose Support Vessels (MPSV)

Multi-Purpose Support Vessels (MPSV's), also known as Light Construction Vessels, are designed with flexibility and versatility in mind. They are capable of performing a range of activities including supply duties, lifting operations, ROV and survey activities, platform and SPM maintenance, diving, light well intervention and accommodation support. To ensure flexibility MPSV's may feature: a dynamic positioning system, heli-deck, cranes, a large open deck area, tank capacity for liquids, large accommodation and walk to work gangway systems.

Dynamic positioning (DP)
AHC Subsea Crane
Heli-deck

IMPORTANCE

LEVERAGE STRATEGIC ROUTINE BOTTLENECK

BUYER POWER

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WEAK

BUYER POWER

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BALANCED

BUYER POWER

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STRONG

Category Description Image

Category Description

Multi-Purpose Support Vessels (MPSV's), also known as Light Construction Vessels, are designed with flexibility and versatility in mind. They are capable of performing a range of activities including: supply duties, lifting operations, ROV and survey activities, platform and SPM maintenance, diving, light well intervention and accommodation support. 

To ensure flexibility MPSV's may feature: a dynamic positioning system, heli-deck, cranes, a large open deck area, tank capacity for liquids, large accommodation and walk to work gangway systems. 

MPSV's can be broadly split into high-spec and low-spec. Low-spec MPSV's operate in waters of less than 150m and are typically smaller and with lower crane capacity. High-spec MPSV's feature much of the latest technologies and are capable of handling larger loads at greater depths and greater environmental demands. Typically high-spec MPSV's operate in deepwaters or where the scope requires higher capabilities (large crane capacity, DP-2/3, ROV, accomodation etc)

Supply & Demand Dynamics Image

Supply & Demand Dynamics

The demand for Multi Purpose Support Vessels (MPSV), and offshore service vessels (OSV's) in general, continues to be driven by the world's increased energy demands. According to BP Energy Outlook energy demands will continue to grow at a pace of about 1.2% per annum until 2040 with oil and gas remaining the dominant source (circa 55%). 

 

The Multi Purpose Support Vessel (MPSV) market is highly cyclical. Utilization and rates are quick to react to oil price due to the influence oil price plays on investment.

Demand Outlook

Multi Purpose Support Vessels (MPSV's) play a varied role - from subsea installation, inspection, maintenance,  topside installation and remediation to drilling and well support activities. With all majors forecasting lower levels of investment for the remainder of 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic and the depressed oil price without sustained higher oil price MPSV demand will remain subdued as operators focus on higher ROI opportunities or critical maintenance. 

Supply Outlook

Much like OSV's the Multi Purpose Support Vessel (MPSV) market went through a period of aggressive new build programs during the high oil price periods. This has left the market significantly oversupplied. 

Key PlayersImage

Key Players

A variety of owners operate MPSV's - from big OSV owners, single vessel owners, to the marine construction contractors. Some of the main MPSV owners and suppliers are shown in the table below:

MPSV Supplier Fleet Size / Location
Hornbeck Offshore Services 10 x high-spec MPSV's / Americas
Bourbon Offshore 12 x high-spec MPSV's, 4 x low-spec MPSV's / Global
Harvey Gulf 4 x high-spec MPSV's / Americas
Oceaneering 7 x high-spec MPSV's / Global
Island Offshore 4 x high-spec MPSV's / North Sea
Bibby Offshore 5 x high-spec MPSV's / North Sea
Topaz Marine 3 x high-spec MPSV's , 7 x low-spec MPSV's / Middle East & Caspian
POSH 2 x high-spec MPSV's, 4 x low-spec MPSV's / Middle East
Swire Pacific Offshore 3 x high-spec MPSV's / Global
Maersk  8 x high-spec MPSV's / North Sea
Zakher Marine 8 x low-spec MPSV's / Middle East
Solstad 28 x high-spec MPSV / Global
Siem Offshore 5 x high-spec MPSV's / Global
Halul Offshore  6 x low-spec MPSV's / Middle East

Portfolio Positioning Image

Portfolio Positioning

It is typical to see spend within the Multi Purpose Support Vessel category sit in the “Leverage” quadrant of the Kraljic Matrix (low supply risk, high value) however when markets tighten, depending on the scope requirements of the MPSV, this category can become of "Strategic" importance.

At present buyers are in a strong position with low demand, and high competition between owners.

Cost & Price Analysis Image

Cost & Price Analysis

Price Analysis

Due to the low oil price and the competitive nature of the MPSV market, and the OSV market generally, owners are operating at close to breakeven with most recording loses for multiple years now. 

Cost Analysis

Costs are highly dependent on customer work scope and the ancillary equipment and services required onboard (includes ROV's, accommodation modules, cranes and walk to work gangway systems). Low-spec MPSV costs may vary between US$5,000 to US$15,000 per day depending on the region and work scope and often can utilize PSV's or AHTS's with modifications to meet the clients needs. High-spec MPSV's vary more dramatically and are significantly more expensive given the larger size and higher purchase (at peak high-spec newbuilds were $80 to $100MM) & operating cost. Costs in this category could be as low as US$20,000 per day to as high as US$50,000 per day. 

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Total Cost of Ownership

Parameter Service Cost Fuel Cost Performance Cost
Cost Visibility High Medium Medium
Description  The rates and charges agreed in a contract for the performance of the service The cost of fuel used by the vessel in performance of duties The cost of inefficiency in performing duties
Cost Drivers
  • Daily Hire Rate
  • Type of operation
  • Type of propulsion
  • NPT (breakdown)
  • Learning curve
  • Quality of work (rework, quality of work activities)
  • Schedule adherence
Commercial Impact High Low High

StrategyImage

Strategy

Given the current market conditions any strategy should be focused on increasing competition and maintaining flexibility in the market. Below are a few options to consider:

  • Aggregate Demand - It can often be difficult to get a clear picture of MPSV demand within an organization due to the mixture of projects (maintenance, installation, well intervention, inspection, ROV etc.) and different departments responsible for the projects. This often leads to multiple spot charters at shorter notice and higher prices. Try to aggregate demand into campaigns to deliver the best rates. Depending on the demand it may be cheaper and more effective to contract a MPSV full time over individual spot charters.
  • Specification and Scope - For marine construction contracts be clear on who is responsible for what in terms of services (ie. are you providing any services), materials  (ie. are there any free-issue materials) and risks (ie. who pays for weather downtime). Where the MPSV is being time chartered be sure the MPSV covers all your scope needs and consider agreeing day rate pricing and mobilization durations for the different operations where they vary significantly. 
  • Maintain Flexibility - The most competitive prices will be achieved through short to mid-term charter durations (6 months to 18 months) with Owners reluctant to lock in low for long. Always retain flexibility to exit the charter on short notice (no more than 90 days). In areas with an active spot market, especially in the lower spec segment, it may be possible to hire vessels on and off for short periods
  • Competitive Tender - Whether it is a lumps sum price for an agreed scope or multiple projects on a daily hire rate competitively tendering in the current market maximizes competition and will drive the lowest rates. 
  • Contract Selection - Time charters or Marine Construction agreements are the preferred choice of contract in the oil and gas MPSV market. Below is a table of the contracting options available for consideration.
Parameter Time Charter Marine Construction Bareboat
Description Per day or duration of time Per day, duration of time or work scope Vessel hull & machinery only
Operational Preference Preferred - generally not suitable for subsea work Preferred particular where subsea work involved Not preferred
Vessel Owner Responsibility Vessel
Crewing
Maintenance
Insurance
Subject to agreement however may include:
Vessel
Crewing
Maintenance
Insurance
Port Charges
Cargo Loading & Discharge
Bunkers
All ancillary equipment and services
Vessel only
Charterer Responsibility Port Charges
Cargo Loading & Discharge
Bunkers
All ancillary equipment and services
Subject to agreement however may include:
Engineering & design documents
Free-issue materials

 
Crewing
Maintenance
Insurance
Port Charges
Cargo Loading & Discharge
Bunkers
Calculation of Charges Daily hire rate Daily hire rate or lump sum price Monthly lump sum payment
Standard Form Contracts BIMCO SUPPLYTIME LOGIC Marine Construction, IMCA Marine Construction,
IMCA ROV Services
BIMCO BARECON

Technical InsightsImage

Technical Insights

Walk to Work Gangway

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