The average day rate for ENSCO's jackup rig fleet was $47,800 for the first quarter of 2003, compared to $41,500 in the year earlier period. Utilization for the Company's jackup fleet increased to 87% in the most recent quarter, up from 82% in the first quarter of 2002. Excluding rigs in the shipyard for regulatory, inspection and enhancement considerations, jackup utilization was 95% in the most recent quarter, compared to 92% in the year earlier period.
Carl Thorne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ENSCO, commented on the Company's current markets and outlook: "We are beginning to see some improvement in the Gulf of Mexico jackup market with all of our available rigs committed, but we expect that any meaningful increase in day rates will likely be deferred until the second half of the year. The North Sea jackup market is sluggish, with very little term work now being bid, and day rates are beginning to soften. All but two of our Europe/West Africa jackup rigs are committed into the second half of 2003. Notwithstanding the fact that we have one available rig in Australia between jobs, Asia Pacific appears to remain firm, in terms of both utilization and day rates.
"With respect to our continuing fleet enhancement and renewal program, ENSCO 57 in Asia Pacific and ENSCO 92 in Europe/West Africa are currently in shipyards for scheduled maintenance and enhancement work, with ENSCO 57 due to be completed in August and ENSCO 92, which is committed upon completion, due out in May. In North America, ENSCO 82 entered a shipyard in February for a major upgrade, with expected completion early in the fourth quarter of 2003. We anticipate that one additional rig, ENSCO 68, will enter a shipyard for a major enhancement in late 2003. In addition to major shipyard projects, we continue life extension and regulatory activity relative to our smaller Gulf of Mexico rigs, with three to four months duration planned for each project. In this regard, ENSCO 98 is presently in a shipyard, scheduled for completion in May, and ENSCO 60 and ENSCO 55 are scheduled sequentially later in 2003.
"Given current market softness in the North Sea, limited improvement in Gulf of Mexico day rates, and scheduled shipyard downtime, we expect second quarter 2003 income from continuing operations, which excludes the gain on the marine vessel sale discussed herein, to be little changed from income from continuing operations of $0.17 per diluted share in the first quarter."
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