Tidewater To Buy GulfMark As Offshore Drilling Eyes Recovery

Offshore services provider Tidewater Inc. said on July 16 it would buy smaller rival GulfMark Offshore Inc. in an all-stock deal to create a $1.25 billion company, the latest in a consolidation spurred by the recovery in oil prices.

The deal allows U.S-based Tidewater to expand its presence in the U.K. North Sea basin, where a 30% jump in oil prices since the end of 2016 has boosted rates for operators.

Offshore services providers, which help drillers transport equipment, crew and also prepare the rig, had been particularly hard hit by the slump in oil prices that began in 2014. But with prices stabilizing above $70 per barrel, oil producers are returning to offshore blocks.