Go to content

 

HIGHLIGHTS FOURTH QUARTER 2009

 

  • Following a successful completion of the Ocean Bottom Node (OBN) survey for BP by Hugin Explorer and Kondor Explorer in Gulf of Mexico end of Q3 2009, the vessels were mobilized to Nigeria, where an expected 6 months survey started 30 November for Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited, an affiliate of Chevron Nigeria Ltd.

 

  • As a consequence of the increased number of awarded contracts to SeaBird in the 2D/3D segment and mobilization of all vessels back to work during Q4 2009, utilization of the 2D/3D vessels increased from 51% to 75% from Q3 to Q4 2009.

 

  • A private placement was completed 10 November towards institutional and private investors of 54 million new shares at NOK 3.50 per share. This increased issued shares to 174,895,831. Total gross proceeds from the share issue were NOK 189 million.

 


KEY FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE FIGURES

For comparisons of income and expenses between 2009 and 2008, it must be noted that the financing and level of operating activity for the SeaBird Group ("SeaBird") has changed considerably. The Ocean Bottom Node ("OBN") survey with the Hugin Explorer commenced in September 2008, and the revenue day rates on the 2D seismic and source vessels have been reduced significantly since 2008.  In addition, the utilization of the 2D/3D/Source vessels was down in Q3 2009 to 51% following long periods of idle time and lay-up of vessels. The overall utilization for our 2D/3D/Source vessels in 2009 was 70% against 85% in average for 2008.

Consolidated revenues for the SeaBird Group are increased to USD 41.1 million in Q4 2009 from USD 28.9 million in Q3 2009, in line with improved utilization for all vessels to 80% in Q4 2009 compared to 55% in Q3 2009.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") were negative USD 0.7 million in Q4 2009 compared with negative USD 1.2 million in Q3 2009. More 2D vessels were generating revenues, but this was partly offset by an increase in operating expenses to USD 36.3 million in Q4 2009 from USD 25.2 million in Q3 2009. This increase was mainly due to increasing crew and maintenance cost to normal levels on vessels mobilizing from idle status to operations. In addition operating cost in Nigeria (from end November) for Hugin Explorer and Kondor Explorer is considerably higher than in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses remained on the same level in Q4 2009 as in Q3 2009 at USD 5.9 million.

Depreciation is on the same level as in previous quarters apart from USD 1.7 million reclassified to impairment, originally recorded under depreciation in Q2.

Interest expense is continuing on the same level in Q4 at USD 3 million as in Q3 2009. Other financial items for the quarter of USD 1.5 million refers to unrealized loss on Exchange.

The income tax of USD 0.8 million in Q4 2009 refers mainly to withholding tax in various jurisdictions around the world where the SeaBird vessels have been operating.

Loss in Q4 2009 was USD 16.9 million compared to a loss in Q3 2009 of USD 24.7 million and a loss in Q4 2008 of USD 0.7 million.

Revenues were USD 161.6 million and the EBITDA USD 11.3 million for the full year 2009. Comparable figures for 2008 were revenues of USD 215.8 million and EBITDA of USD 69.5 million, main changes explained above. Loss for 2009 is USD 61.8 million compared to a profit of USD 20.2 million for 2008.

Capital expenditure was USD 8.7 million during Q4 2009, mainly referring to dry-docking and classification of the vessels Osprey Explorer and Hawk Explorer with  USD 3.7 million and multi client USD 3.3 million. For 2009 capital cost amounted to USD 33.4 million in total, of which USD 8 million referred to acquiring seismic equipment to Aquila Explorer (initiated in 2008), 250 additional Ocean Bottom Nodes and various modification/upgrade of Hugin Explorer and Kondor USD 12 million, and USD 6 million referred to classification and dry-docking of 3 vessels, USD 3 million was spent on capital maintenance throughout the 2D fleet and USD 5 million was capitalized on multi client.

A weakening of USD against NOK and Euro has in general a negative impact on the operating expenses, interest expenses and gross debt as SeaBird has significant costs in other currencies and bond loans of a total of NOK 478 million.


OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS Q4 2009


From a historic low utilization for the whole fleet operated by SeaBird Exploration in Q3 2009 at 55%, the utilization increased to 80% in Q4 2009 following a number of new contracts awarded to SeaBird during October and November. A proportion of this fleet time in Q4 was mobilization with lower revenue than full production.

The 2D and Source market has improved with a significantly higher volume in the tendering activity during the latter part of 2nd half of 2009, with a better balance between supply and demand. The rate levels are however still below what we experienced in 2008, partly due to some lower graded 3D vessels now competing in the 2D market. This part of SeaBird's business segment (including Geo Mariner) achieved an average utilization in Q4 2009 of 75%.

The Osprey Explorer was mobilized from cold stack mid October, and following completion of a periodical survey and dry dock in Singapore, commenced operation of a 2D survey in Indonesia beginning of December and is now working in Indian waters. Utilization Q4 was 26%.

Geo Mariner, our 3D shallow water vessel, made a short survey at the Seychelles in October. Thereafter she mobilized to Ghana to start a 3D survey beginning of December, completed 20 February 2010. The vessel is presently idle. Utilization was 75% in Q4.

Harrier Explorer continued on its long term time charter to PGS (ending 3rd Quarter 2011) with utilization of 97% in Q4 2009.

Following completion of the time charter with Fugro, Hawk Explorer completed a periodical survey and dry dock mid November, thereafter the vessel was mobilized to Gulf of Mexico to start on a 4 months contract as source vessel. Hawk's utilization was 80% including paid mobilization during the Quarter.

Following an idle period during all of Q3 2009 for Northern Explorer, a 5 weeks survey started 1st October in Indonesia. Thereafter the vessel started on a 13 000 km 2D survey plus options for a consortium of oil companies in Indonesia. This program could have duration of about 6 months. Utilization was 86% in Q4 2009.

Aquila Explorer
resumed work early October 2009 in Indonesia after being idle for about two months and mobilized in December to west Australia where the vessel is expected to work for various clients in continuation through first half of 2010. Utilization in Q4 2009 was 83%

Munin Explorer completed her surveys offshore Ireland and Greenland end of Q3 2009 and mobilized to Gulf of Mexico for a 2D survey starting mid October thereafter the vessel commenced early December as source vessel in Mexico. She is idle from 21 February 2010, but fixed from 1 June 2010 in the North Sea. Utilization was 79% in Q4.

Hugin Explorer and Kondor Explorer
completed the OBN survey for BP in the Gulf of Mexico end of Q3 2009.  During October and most of November the vessels mobilized to Nigeria via Las Palmas where some survey/maintenance work was carried out on Hugin Explorer, and the 250 new nodes were loaded onboard, increasing the total nodes in operation to 750.

The expected 6 months survey started 30 November for Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited, an affiliate of Chevron Nigeria Limited. During the first 3 months of the survey both Hugin Explorer deploying and retrieving nodes and Kondor Explorer as source (shooting) vessel have performed better than expected, and have operated without significant downtime while nodes have delivered data comfortably within the limit of tolerance. However during the mobilization period October and November mobilization fees received are much less than revenues generated during operations. This has had a negative effect on the Q4 2009 result.


LIQUIDITY AND FINANCING

Cash and cash equivalents at 31 December 2009 amounted to USD 14.5 million, compared to USD 7.6 million at the end of Q3 2009 and USD 14.9 million at the end of 2008. Net cash flow from operating activities for Q4 2009 was negative USD 12.8 million, compared to positive USD 3.8 million for Q3 2009. Q4 2008 was positive USD 6.5 million. The reduction in Q4 2009 is due to an increase in trade and other receivables of USD 10.7 million during the quarter.

During Q4 2009 instalments of USD 3.3 million were paid to banks and USD 0.7 million on the lease of Hawk Explorer. Net interest-bearing debt decreased to USD 168.2 million end of Q4 2009 from USD 179.1 million end of Q3 2009.

The NOK 200 million bond loan with maturity on 14 July 2009 was restructured and partly repaid at a discount during March and April 2009 through a Private Placement and new bank debt. Remaining balance due July 2011 is NOK 77.8 million.

The banks agreed in June 2009 to defer instalments of a total of USD 14.1 million due during June - December 2009 to be added as a balloon to the last instalments in 2011-2012.

A private placement was completed 10 November 2009 towards institutional and private investors of 54 million new shares at a price of NOK 3.50 per share. This increased number of issued shares to 174,895,831. Total gross proceeds from the share issue were NOK 189 million. A part of proceeds were used for general corporate purposes.

Due to the weak result in Q3 and Q4 2009 SeaBird was in breach of one of the covenants in the loan agreements, the Net Debt/EBITDA ratio. Waivers have been received from the banks that this does not represent a breach under the loan agreements.

At present SeaBird has about USD 12 million overdue receivables outstanding from various customers, and another USD 5-10 million equivalent tied up in local Nigerian currency. This is causing preliminary operating cash restraints for the Company.
Steps have been taken to remedy this situation.


OUTLOOK

Following the increase in the number of awarded 2D contracts towards the end of 2009, there has continued to be a good volume of tenders being placed. These have in the most part been smaller tender invitations in the range of 2,000km to 7,000km and especially notable in the APAC and EAME regions. Revenue rates have increased only marginally over the last 6 months. We are however encouraged by the oil price being maintained at USD 70-80/bbl, and with the announced increased expenditures by oil companies for exploration and production in 2010. Although the 2D/3D market is expected to remain soft during 1st half 2010, we foresee 2nd half 2010 with more optimism. SeaBird is not so exposed to overcapacity being in the 2D and 4C OBN sectors as those companies primarily operating in the 3D multi-streamer sector.


As a result of the successful operation with SeaBird's OBN survey with Hugin Explorer and Kondor Explorer, on both the BP contract in GOM and so far during the survey in Nigeria, SeaBird is experiencing increased interest from major oil companies in using OBN for both initial surveys and over time developing into repeat surveys on several shallow and deep water producing fields. Although this sector is still in its infancy compared to traditional seismic, SeaBird firmly believes this can materialize into long term engagements and is presently preparing an investment case for a second OBN vessel for 2011 operation. SeaBird has not yet secured the next contract after the present contract in Nigeria expected to be completed end of April. SeaBird has several bids under evaluation.


Based on all vessels being back in operation during Q4 2009, a higher utilization of the 2D vessels during Q1 2010, and a better than expected performance of the OBN operation, SeaBird is expecting a substantial improvement of the EBITDA in Q1 2010 compared to the last two quarters of 2009.

The Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer
SeaBird Exploration Ltd

25 February 2010


The presentation and the full report with tables can be downloaded from the following links:

 

This information is subject of the disclosure requirements acc. to ยง5-12 vphl (Norwegian Securities Trading Act)