The Middle East’s annual capital expenditure for offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production (E&P) could reach $15bn by 2012.

Waha Capital director of Maritime Investments Mustapha Boussaid told Khaleej Times that offshore E&P in the region is expected to grow by 10% a year in 2011 and 2012 based on positive growth prospects for the offshore supply vessel (OSV) industry.

Speculative ordering during 2007-08 put pressure on the OSV industry, which usually grows in line with E&P. As a result the large supply of OSV vessels will lead to a sector growth of 3-4% over the next few years.

“Despite softness in the next year or two, the medium and long term prospects for our industry are bright as a number of factors, including strong long-term global oil demand and a growing share of global oil E&P happening offshore, provide strong fundamentals to this industry,” said Boussaid.