Offshore oil and gas driller Transocean said that it is burning through $1bn of its order backlog per month as falling power demand slows new contracts for its oceangoing rigs.

Transocean chief executive Robert Long said that the company’s $33.7bn backlog has been affected as new deals have declined following a drop in crude oil prices.

Speaking at an energy conference in New York, Long said: “We are optimistic on the fundamentals of that business long term, but we could see a few more deepwater rigs idled in the near term,” Bloomberg reported.

Transocean’s backlog covers leases extending up to 2020, with the biggest tranche, which represents 26% of the total, accounting for work in 2010.

The backlog is down 17% in the past twelve months, according to the company.

Long said that the company is in talks with an unnamed oil producer to develop a vessel that can drill in deep, ice-choked seas close to the Arctic Circle.