The average day rate for ENSCO's operating jackup rig fleet for the quarter ended March 31, 2006, increased by 72% to $103,400 compared to $60,000 in the prior year quarter. Utilization of the Company's jackup fleet increased to 91% in the most recent quarter, up from 87% in the quarter ended March 31, 2005. Excluding rigs in a shipyard for contract preparation, regulatory inspection and enhancement, ENSCO's jackup utilization was 99% in the quarter ended March 31, 2006, compared to 95% in the prior year quarter.
Carl Thorne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ENSCO, commented on the Company's current results and outlook: "The average day rate for our jackup fleet exceeded $100,000 for the first time in our 19-year history, and earnings surpassed the previous record level achieved in the fourth quarter of 2005. Reflective of the breadth of market strength, jackup day rates increased from fourth quarter levels in all of our major markets.
"This month, we will substantially complete our 10-year, $1.3 billion rig enhancement and life extension program with redelivery of two Gulf of Mexico jackups. ENSCO 87 commenced work on April 1 following its upgrade and ENSCO 86 should return to service by the end of this month following recommissioning. ENSCO 69 is en route to Venezuela after having completed contract preparation work and should commence its term contract by mid-May.
"Construction continues on our new ultra-high specification jackup rig, ENSCO 108, with delivery scheduled for the second quarter of 2007. The rig is already committed for work in Southeast Asia following delivery.
"Construction continues on our two ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rigs, ENSCO 8500 and ENSCO 8501. ENSCO 8500 is scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2008, and ENSCO 8501's delivery is anticipated in the second quarter of 2009. Both rigs are being built against firm multi-year contracts.
"Global rig availability remains limited, with many requirements unable to be filled until 2007 or 2008. Increased operating days resulting from completion of our enhancement program and the addition of ENSCO 107 earlier this year, coupled with the contract rollover of many rigs to leading edge fixtures, are currently expected to add meaningfully to our prospective 2006 results."
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