The SeaBird Group reported its operational highlights for the second quarter of 2008.
Munin Explorer, Northern Explorer and Osprey Explorer were all operating in India in April and May on various contracts for Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited of India (ONGC). Munin Explorer left India for a proprietary survey in East-Africa early June, while Northern Explorer left India mid-June for a 3-4 months time charter
Osprey Explorer continues to acquire data off the East-Coast of India and is expected to stay in India throughout the monsoon period. Northern Explorer and Osprey Explorer are expected to be in India until the summer 2009. In total, these three vessels had average vessel utilization of about 87% in the second quarter. All three vessels suffered downtime and non-chargeable standby in excess of our targets. However this was offset by effective production when the vessels were acquiring data, and revenues were exceeding target.
Geo Mariner had vessel utilization above 95% and completed a short survey off the East-Coast of India and a survey off the East-Coast of Africa in the second quarter. The vessel is currently mobilizing for a survey in the Middle East.
Aquila Explorer, Harrier Explorer, Kondor Explorer and Hawk Explorer were all on time charter contracts for the whole quarter. Harrier Explorer had close to 94% utilization and chargeable time, while the three others had average vessel utilization slightly above 80%. The main part of the unpaid time for these vessels was planned upgrade and maintenance work. Hawk Explorer was out of production for eight days for improvements to the seismic equipment with the aim of bringing the vessel performance back to target levels. The client (Fugro) has exercised an option to extend the time charter contract on the Hawk Explorer to November 2009.
Aquila Explorer is on time-charter to Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) until February 2009. Aquila Explorer was in yard for about three weeks for various maintenance work and upgrade to 2D mode, of which about two weeks were unpaid. The main capital expenditures related to the upgrade to 2D mode are covered by the charterer, while the charter rate will be increased around 10% to operate the vessel in 2D mode. Kondor Explorer was in yard close to three weeks for various maintenance works and continued operations for CGGVeritas for the rest of the quarter. The contract with CGGVeritas has been terminated and the vessel will be released from CGGVeritas at the end of August. We are currently working with alternative employment options for the Kondor Explorer. The Harrier Explorer is on time charter to PGS until 2011 with an extension option for two years.
The Hugin Explorer completed successful maritime and seismic sea-trials at the end of the second quarter and completed a small job in the North Sea in July. She is now in transit to Angola with 500 new deep-water nodes on board, to commence her first full scale ocean bottom node survey for Total. The total investment in nodes and vessel conversion and equipment is estimated to be around US $75 million. The assignment for Total represents the first major recognition from oil companies of our seabed operations and is our first contract in this high end of the seismic industry where we see great potential for the future in reservoir imaging and 4C / 4D applications. SeaBird is very pleased to have reached this milestone and to have Total as the contractual partner in the first survey using Hugin Explorer and her autonomous node acquisition system in
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