MRC Global InSight


In general, while the US is experiencing an unexpected slow down in activity, the International region's activity levels have held steady or improved slightly compared to 2018 levels.


In the upstream sector, the North Sea continues to be a hot bed of activity with production rates hitting seven-year highs. There are several projects due to complete commissioning and begin production in the second half of 2019 including: Utgard, Johan Sverdrup Phase 1 (Norway) and the Mariner Heavy Oil Field (UK). The Johan Sverdrup field is one of the largest oil fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, with expected resources of 2.1 to 3.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Stage 2 is already in construction. Norway continues to invest heavily in the Norwegian Continental Shelf with Martin Linge, Wisting and Johan Castberg projects under development.

Norway continues to invest heavily in the Norwegian Continental Shelf with Martin Linge, Wisting and Johan Castberg projects under development.

There is continued uncertainty surrounding the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and the subsequent impact it may make on energy-related investments.

The European downstream sector continues to be busy primarily driven by investments in the chemical sector, where low feed prices are driving healthy profits. There is little investment in new refinery capacity, however, the age of refining infrastructure across Europe and changes in the characteristics of feedstock are leading to ongoing investments in plant modernization.


The Caspian region continues to be very active with Tengizchevroil’s $5 billion North East Ring Project (NERP) moving into the detailed design and procurement phase in anticipation of a FID in late 2019. A new president in Kazakhstan has re-energized the push for greater local content in the oil and gas sector, and this is expected to be a topic of discussion for local operators and their international suppliers.

In Azerbaijan, in April 2019, the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) partnership made a final investment decision to commence the next stage of development of the ACG field with a $6 billion project, which includes a new offshore platform and facilities designed to process up to 100,000 bpd. The project is expected to achieve first production in 2023 and produce up to 300 million barrels of oil over its lifetime.

Middle East & Africa

The Basrah Gas Company (BGC), a public/private joint venture between South Gas Company, Shell and Mitsubishi, was created in 2013 to rehabilitate existing natural gas infrastructure after 30 years of sanctions and conflict. BGC has continued to build-out infrastructure in the Basrah province in 2019.

IOC investments in Africa continue to move forward. Companies such as Total, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP are targeting the vast oil and gas reserves of countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Ghana and Equatorial Guinea. In April 2019, Total started-up production on Kaombo Sul, the second Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit of the Kaombo project in Angola. Kaombo Sul will bring the overall production capacity to 230,000 bpd, which is equivalent to 15% of the country’s production.

Asia Pacific

ExxonMobil is moving forward with a $2 billion expansion to their Jurong Island refinery. The expansion will highlight opportunities for local businesses to participate. Construction has begun with a start-up deadline of 2023 for the expanded facility.

When combined, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) represent 38% of planned investments over the next five years. KSA has significant plans to increase gas production and to increase the role of gas in its energy exports, which is currently utilized entirely for domestic use in power generation and industry. The KSA is also planning to continue investing in petrochemicals in its drive to diversify and create more value. Two planned major projects include the Jubail Oil-to-Chemical Complex and the Yanbu Integrated Refinery and Petrochemicals Complex.

South Korea’s thriving shipbuilding sector is driving increasing demand for PVF in the country. The growth has been fueled by an increasing demand for LNG and large crude oil tankers. The Wall Street Journal reports that the two leading companies in South Korea and China control approximately 46% of the global shipbuilding business. Korean shipyards continue to be a significant global player in the modular construction of LNG plants, topside modules and floating production storage and offloading vessels. As a result, demand for PVF in Korea is expected to remain strong well into 2020.

As a result, demand for PVF in Korea is expected to remain strong well into 2020.

In Australia, there has been a moderate resurgence in coal mining activity. One project worthy of note is the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, which has begun construction and will access the Galiliee Basin, one of the world’s largest untapped reserves of thermal coal.

However, oil and gas exploration has hit the lowest activity levels since 2005. LNG production is at record highs, but investment in future developments are nearly non-existent. Downstream activity is steady at approximately 500,000 bpd, and the country is relying on imported refined products to close the gap above that capacity level. As a result, PVF demand is limited to annual repair and maintenance needs.