Shallow water drilling permits
In November 2017, one drilling permit was issued in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In October, three drilling permits were issued. For the first 11 months of the year, 13 shallow water drilling permits were issued, which is higher than the nine permits issued in the same period in 2016.
Deepwater drilling permits
There were four deepwater permits issued for October 2017, less than the five permits issued in October 2017. In the first 11 months of 2017, there were 47 drilling permits compared to 60 issued in the first 11 months of 2016. A permit gives E&P companies approval to drill a well. Tracking drilling permits gives us an idea of customer sentiment.
A higher number of drilling permits suggests an improving outlook, and vice versa, for offshore drillers (IYE) such as Transocean (RIG), Ensco (ESV), Diamond Offshore (DO), Noble (NE), and Rowan Companies (RDC).
Pending and returned applications
Returned and pending applications give us an idea of how many drilling permits might be approved in the coming months. Not all pending and returned applications are approved. Permits are only issued if companies comply with safety regulations and standards. In November 2017, six drilling applications were returned for more information or clarification. In the same month, 11 applications were pending.