For the year ended December 31, 2003, Rowan incurred a net loss of $7.8 million, or $.08 per share, compared to net income of $86.3 million, or $.90 per share, in 2002. The prior year results included net proceeds from the settlement of the Gorilla V contract dispute, which increased net income by approximately $102 million, or $1.07 per share. Excluding the effects of the settlement, the Company's 2002 results would have been a net loss of approximately $16 million, or $.17 per share.
Rowan's offshore rig utilization was 92% during the fourth quarter of 2003, versus 94% in the third quarter and 88% in the year-earlier period, and our average Gulf of Mexico day rate of $42,400 increased by $3,300, or 9%, from the third quarter and by $6,900, or 19%, from the year-earlier period. Land rig utilization was 80% during the fourth quarter of 2003, versus 68% in the year-earlier period, and our average land rig day rate of $11,200 increased by $200, or 2%, from the third quarter and by $1,700, or 18%, from the year-earlier period.
Danny McNease, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our drilling operations finished 2003 strongly, with revenues, utilization and average day rates in December at or near highs for the year. We are optimistic that 2004 will continue this trend and are confident that Rowan rigs will continue to lead deep-shelf drilling efforts in the ever-tightening Gulf of Mexico market.
"Our optimism is supported by recent reports of declining domestic natural gas production and increased estimates of deep-shelf gas reserves. With continuing high oil and natural gas prices, drilling activity should increase. A recent survey of independent operators indicated that 2004 exploration and production activities will exceed 2003 levels by nearly 25%.
"We will continue to pursue increasing opportunities for our Gorilla class rigs in harsh environments throughout the world. Our manufacturing operations generated record revenues during the fourth quarter and our backlog is at $40 million, more than double the prior-year level."
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