SeaBird's Vessel Utilization Flies Low in Fourth Quarter, Down 83% for '08

SeaBird has announced the vessel utilization data for the fourth quarter of 2008. For this purpose vessel utilization is defined as the percentage of the full quarter where the vessel is in paid work either in the form of acquisition, mobilization, demobilization, steaming, standby or other.

SeaBird had nine vessels in operation in the third quarter with an average vessel utilization of around 77% for the full quarter which is down from 84% for the third quarter of 2008 and 83% for the full year 2008. The main reasons for the negative development of vessel utilization are the Kondor Explorer being idle for the whole quarter and low utilization for the Hugin Explorer.

Three of the vessels (Aquila Explorer, Harrier Explorer and Hawk Explorer) were on time charter contracts for the whole quarter and had an average vessel utilization and chargeable time of 95%. Kondor Explorer ended a long contract with CGGVeritas at the end of August and has been idle since. Consequently the vessel utilization was 0% for the fourth quarter. We are working with alternative short term employment options for the Kondor Explorer and the Kondor will also be part of the ocean bottom node survey for BP Exploration & Production Inc. in the Gulf of Mexico, USA in 2009.

Osprey Explorer continued to acquire data at the East-Coast of India for the whole quarter with utilization of 94%. The Northern Explorer completed a four months time charter contract in the Far East towards the end of October before it returned to India to finalize some work on the West-Coast of India before it joins Osprey Explorer on the East-Coast projects. Vessel utilization for the Northern Explorer was 80% for the quarter. Expected completion of the current projects in East-Coast India is mid-2009.

Munin Explorer was working on various contracts in Africa and had a vessel utilization of 95% for the quarter, while the Geo Mariner has been working in the Middle-East for the full quarter with a vessel utilization of 95%.

The Hugin Explorer is in Angola on her first full scale ocean bottom node survey for Total and completed recovery of nodes from the first of two survey areas in November. Some of the nodes recovered experienced challenges with the electronics and necessary adjustments are in process and a number of nodes have to be redeployed and reshoot. These adjustments are currently expected to delay the completion of the Angola survey until early Q2 2009. Hugin will then mobilize to the US Gulf of Mexico for the survey for BP. Vessel utilization for the quarter was 47%.

Even though revenues recognized for the Hugin Explorer will be significantly lower than target for the quarter, we expect to recognize consolidated revenues for the fourth quarter around the level of Q2 and Q3 2008, or in the range of USD 55 to 57 million. Revenues for the full year 2008 are expected to be in the range of US $205 to $207 million.