Based on the market situation during 2014 and the GDP forecasts for 2015, the market for liquid and gas fuelled power generation is expected to remain challenging. Despite slower economic growth in the emerging markets, increased electricity demand will support power plant investments. In the OECD countries, low economic growth continues to limit demand for new power plants. Low gas prices are driving demand in the USA. The megatrend towards distributed, flexible gas-fired power generation is evident. The increasing deployment in many parts of the world of intermittent renewable power, such as wind and solar, will require flexible solutions to balance fluctuations in the grid.
The overall outlook for the shipping and shipbuilding markets is challenging. Low oil prices continue to impact investments in exploration and development, thereby limiting the demand for offshore drilling and support vessels. Overcapacity affects the demand for vessels, particularly in the dry bulk and offshore markets. Increased scrapping, together with a more balanced fleet growth, supports a gradual recovery in the freight market. The sentiment in the gas carrier market remains healthy; activity is however expected to revert to normal levels after the strong ordering volumes of 2014. The outlook for cruise and ferry activity is positive and is backed by new entrants to the market, fleet renewal, and increased passenger traffic from Asia. The importance of fuel efficiency and environmental regulations are clearly visible, driving interest in environmental solutions and gas as a marine fuel for the broader marine markets.
The overall service market outlook is positive with growth opportunities in selected regions and segments. An increase in the installed base of medium-speed engines and propulsion equipment offsets the slower service demand for older installations and uncertainty regarding short-term demand development in the merchant marine segment. The service demand for installations operating on oil based fuels is expected to grow as recent oil price developments have had a favourable impact on operating costs. Although the decline in oil prices has resulted in a challenging outlook for offshore services in specific regions, the growth during recent years in the offshore installed base partially compensates for a potential decline in service volumes. The service outlook for gas fuelled vessels remains favourable. Service demand in the power plant segment continues to be good with an especially positive outlook in the Middle East and Africa. Customers in both the marine and power plant markets continue to show healthy interest in long-term service agreements.