Atwood Oceanics reports that the Atwood Eagle has recently completed the first of three consecutive wells for BHP Billiton Petroleum in Australia after BHP exercised its two remaining options in its current drilling program. The drilling of these three wells is estimated to take until the end of February 2005 to complete. With the exercise of the options by BHP to drill two additional wells, the rig will not have any idle time between completion of the current BHP drilling program and commencement of its next drilling program for Woodside Energy. Immediately following the completion of drilling of the three wells for BHP, the rig will commence its drilling commitment with Woodside to drill four firm wells with options to drill three additional wells off the coast of Australia. The drilling of the four firm wells is expected to take approximately four months to complete. The dayrates for the wells to be drilled under the current BHP and Woodside drilling programs are $89,500 for wells drilled in water depths below 600 meters and $109,000 for wells drilled in water depths of 600 meters or more except that the first well drilled in water depth between 600 meters and 700 meters for Woodside will have a dayrate of $99,000.
The Company also announced that the ATWOOD EAGLE has been awarded additional work by BHP following the completion of its contract with Woodside to drill one (1) firm well with an option to drill one (1) additional well. The dayrate for the additional BHP work is a split currency rate of US $120,000 plus Australian $40,000, which equates to a total dayrate of approximately US $150,000.