Diamond Offshore Drilling is seeing lots of demand for its oil rigs from China, India and other industrialized nations — but not the United States, Chief Executive Larry Dickerson told CNBC Thursday.
"There’s a lot of forces arguing for a slower return to drilling" since the deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 13 months ago, he said. "Certainly the president has indicated he wants drilling to return."
However, with Senate Republicans unable to pass a bill that would have accelerated and expanded offshore oil drilling — five Republicans joined with 52 Democrats or independents to vote against the billin a 57-42 vote — Dickerson said he expects drilling to return in "incremental steps rather than a big push."
Around the world, however, Diamond Offshore is seeing huge demand. It recently entered into deals with Anadarko Petroleum that will use Diamond Offshore's two new-build drill ships now on order to explore a number of places around the world where there have been big discoveries, including Mozambique, Dickerson said.
Demand is heavy in India and China "and in all places that are industrializing" including Brazil, which where it leads in number of rigs at 16.
"I can’t tell you what [oil] prices are going to do in the short term, but I can look around the world and look at China and see all the miles of highway and roads that they’re putting down and they’re going to put something on those roads," including cars, busses and diesel trucks, that will need fuel to run.
"I have long-term faith the price of oil will remain at a level that people will continue to explore for."