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Awilco Drilling posts loss as rig remains unused for nearly four years

Awilco Drilling has reported a set of losses as one of its two rigs has remained unused for nearly four years running.

The Aberdeen-headquartered firm said its WilHunter rig remained cold-stacked in Invergordon, where it has been idle since the third quarter of 2015.

The last job the WilHunter had was for a decommissioning programme for Hess in the second quarter of 2015 before being sent to Invergordon.

It was initially hot-stacked, meaning it would be ready soon for another mobilisation, but it has been cold-stacked since the third quarter of 2016.

Awilco’s other rig, WilPhoenix, was in continued operations with Shell in the UK, moving from the Gannet location to the Heron field in late June.

However, earlier this month Shell notified the company it would not be exercising the remaining contract options for the WilPhoenix for two abandonment wells and three exploration wells.

For its 2019 half-year results, Awilco posted a pre-tax loss of £2.1million for the year to date, compared to a profit of £10.1 million in the same period last year.

Contract revenue also dropped from £35.4m in the first six months of 2018 to £15.4million in the first half of 2019.

Awilco employs 27 employees in Aberdeen, as well as 114 offshore workers and two others onshore.

In its market outlook, the firm said it continues to see “strong demand” in Norway and internationally, with there being limited availability and “positive” developments of rates for 2020.

However the UK market is expected to remain “somewhat seasonal” into next year, but the firm expects “high levels” of utilisation for the marketed fleet in the second and third quarters.

Meanwhile, Awilco has recently ordered two newbuild drilling rigs, with the first on schedule for March 2021 delivery.

The second will cut steel by the end of the third quarter this year and will arrive with Awilco in March 2022.

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