The vessel utilization for the 9 seismic vessels operated by SeaBird for the 4th Quarter was 80%, up from 55% for the 3rd Quarter 2009.
Following the increased number of awarded contracts to SeaBird in the 2D/3D segment and mobilization of all vessels back to work during the 4th Quarter 2009, utilization of the 2 D/3D vessels increased from 51% to 75% from 3rd to 4th Quarter. While Harrier Explorer, Northern Explorer, Hawk Explorer and Aquila Explorer achieved utilization between 80% and 90%, Geo Mariner (3D) and Osprey Explorer had utilization between 30% and 50% due to partly unpaid mobilization and docking of Osprey after being cold stacked for 4 months.
The fourth quarter of 2009 showed an improvement in employment prospects in the 2D market, but mobilization and production rates are still at lower levels relative to 2008. Globally, volume of work outstanding is high, and contracts awarded are starting to catch up. SeaBird is positioned to take advantage of these prospective opportunities with the high quality 2D fleet operated.
SeaBird's 2D/3D vessels have a satisfactory backlog at the start of 2010 with one vessel on time charter to September 2011, 4 vessels are on contract or committed to May-June this year, while two of the vessels are on contract to February-March.
The Ocean Bottom Node survey was completed with the Hugin Explorer for BP in the Gulf of Mexico at end of 3rd Quarter and the vessel has mobilized with a lump-sum payment to West Africa during October and most of November. Hugin Explorer commenced operations on her 3rd OBN survey at end November generating full production revenue.
The Kondor Explorer supports the Hugin Explorer on the West Africa survey as a shooting vessel and was subject to the same mobilization and production revenue streams in Q4. Utilization therefore combined for the two vessels was above 90%.
SeaBird are actively pursuing alternative employments for the OBN operation with Hugin Explorer and Kondor Explorer following the expected completion of the present survey in the 2nd Quarter 2010.
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