3 July, 2008. British Virgin Islands/Dubai: SeaBird Exploration Limited (BVI) ('SeaBird" or "SBX") announced today the vessel utilization for the second quarter of 2008. For this purpose vessel utilization is defined as the percentage of the full quarter where the vessel is in paid work either in the form of acquisition, mobilization, demobilization, steaming, standby or other.
All eight vessels were in operation in the quarter with an average vessel utilization of around 87% for the full quarter which is down from 92 % for the first quarter of 2008. Even though we did not have optimal vessel utilization we expect to recognize revenues in the range of USD 54-55 million for the second quarter of 2008 compared to USD 37.7 million in the first quarter of 2008. Four of the vessels (Aquila Explorer, Harrier Explorer, Kondor Explorer and Hawk Explorer) were on time charter contracts for the whole quarter. Harrier Explorer had close to 94% utilization and chargeable time, while the three others had average vessel utilization slightly above 80%. The main part of the unpaid time for these vessels was planned upgrade and maintenance work. Hawk Explorer was out of production for eight days for improvements to the seismic equipment with the aim of bringing the vessel performance back to target levels. Aquila Explorer was in yard for around three weeks for various maintenance work and upgrade to 2D mode, of which around two weeks were unpaid. The main capital expenditures related to the upgrade to 2D mode are covered by the charterer, while the charter rate will be increased around 10% to operate the vessel in 2D mode. Kondor Explorer was in yard close to three weeks for various maintenance works.
Munin Explorer, Northern Explorer and Osprey Explorer were all operating in India in April and May on various contracts for Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited of India ("ONGC"). Munin Explorer left India for a proprietary survey in East-Africa early June, while Northern Explorer left India mid-June for a 3-4 months time charter in the Far East. Osprey Explorer continues to acquire data at the East-Coast of India and is expected to stay in India throughout the monsoon period. These three vessels had average vessel utilization of around 87%. All three vessels suffered downtime and non-chargeable standby in excess of our targets, however this was more than offset by effective production when the vessels were acquiring data, hence revenues were exceeding target.
Geo Mariner had vessel utilization above 95% and had a satisfactory quarter completing a survey at the East Coast of India and a survey at the East Coast of Africa. The vessel is currently mobilizing for a survey in the Middle East.
SeaBird has over the last few weeks been awarded jobs for Geo Mariner, Northern Explorer and Munin Explorer securing close to full contract backlog through Q3 2008 for the 8 vessels currently in operation. The total value of these contracts is in the range of USD 30 million and is expected to yield average day-rates slightly above the previous guiding of USD 75-90,000 per day.
The Hugin Explorer is in the process of completing successful maritime and seismic sea-trials and is expected to do a small job in the North Sea in July prior to mobilizing to Angola to commence operations for Total in the second half of the quarter. Expected total investment in nodes and vessel conversion and equipment is estimated to be around USD 75 million.
As described in our first quarter 2008 financial statement, SeaBird has been in the process of amending installment plans for loans with scheduled repayments in 2008 and has successfully re-negotiated repayment schedules for short and long term loans constituting around USD 75 million to better align the repayment schedule with our projected cash flow from operations and securing a satisfactory liquidity.
For further queries contact:
CEO SeaBird Exploration
Phone: +971 504 539075
CFO SeaBird Exploration
Phone: +47 916 39367
- - -
SeaBird Exploration Limited (BVI) `SeaBird` is a global provider of marine 2D and 3D seismic data, solutions for seabed acquisition of 4C/4D multimode seismic, and associated products and services to the oil and gas industry. SeaBird specializes in high quality operations within the high end of the source vessel and 2D market, as well as in the shallow water 2D/3D market. Main focus for the company is proprietary seismic surveys (contract seismic). SeaBird does not have a multi-client data library. Main success criteria for the company are an unrelenting focus on Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Quality (HSSEQ), combined with efficient collection of high quality seismic data.
All statements in this press release other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict, and are based upon assumptions as to future events that may not prove accurate. These factors include SeaBird`s reliance on a cyclical industry and the utilization of the company's vessels. Actual results may differ substantially from those expected or projected in the forward-looking statements.