Atwood Oceanics reports that ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Malaysia Inc. ("EMEPMI") and the Company will suspend the VICKSBURG contract upon completion of drilling on the current platform, which is expected to be early to mid May 2004, at which time, the rig will be immediately moved to Thailand to commence an approximately five months drilling program for Chevron Offshore (Thailand) Limited ("Chevron"). EMEPMI will reinstate the VICKSBURG contract immediately upon the rig being redelivered to Malaysia after completing the Chevron drilling program. The EMEPMI drilling commitment will include the estimated five months suspension period plus an additional twelve months, for a total of seventeen months commencing in November 2004. EMEPMI retains its right to terminate the contract with at least 120 days notice. The rig's current dayrate is $64,500, with the Chevron contract providing for a dayrate of $66,500. The dayrate once the rig returns to EMEPMI will be $63,500. The VICKSBURG will remain on dayrate during the periods required to move the rig from Malaysia to Thailand and back to Malaysia.
The Company also announced that the RICHMOND has been awarded a contract by Helis Oil & Gas Company, L.L.C. ("Helis") to drill four firm wells plus options for drilling four additional wells. The rig will move to the first Helis drilling location immediately upon completing its current contract with Bois D'Arc Offshore Ltd., which should be completed in late June 2004. The drilling of the four firm wells is expected to take around 120 to 150 days to complete and if all four option wells are drilled, the contract could extend for around 240 to 300 days.