Atwood Oceanics, Inc. is engaged in the international offshore drilling and completion of exploratory and developmental oil and gas wells and related support, management and consulting services. We are headquartered in Houston, Texas, USA. Atwood Oceanics, Inc. was organized in 1968 as a Texas corporation and commenced operations in 1970.
During our forty year history, the majority of our drilling units have operated outside of United States waters, and we have conducted drilling operations in most of the major offshore exploration areas of the world. Our current worldwide operations include nine premium offshore mobile drilling units located in five regions of the world – offshore Southeast Asia, offshore Africa, offshore Australia, the Mediterranean Sea and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 97%, 97%, and 93% of our contract revenues were derived from foreign operations in fiscal years 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively. The submersible RICHMOND is our only drilling unit currently working in United States waters. We support our operations from our Houston headquarters and offices currently located in Australia, Malaysia, Malta, Egypt, Indonesia, Singapore and the United Kingdom. For information relating to the contract revenues, operating income and identifiable assets attributable to specific geographic areas of operations, see Note 13 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements contained in our Annual Report to Shareholders for fiscal year 2009, filed herewith and incorporated by reference herein.
When necessary, we update and upgrade our fleet in order to maintain premium, modern equipment. In fiscal year 1997, we commenced an internal upgrade program of all of our active drilling units. Collectively, since fiscal year 1997, we have invested approximately $410 million in upgrading seven offshore mobile drilling units in connection with our upgrade program. Our eighth drilling unit, the ATWOOD BEACON, an ultra-premium, jack-up rig, commenced its initial drilling contract following completion of the construction and commissioning in early August 2003 at a cost of approximately $120 million, while our ninth unit, the ATWOOD AURORA, another ultra-premium jack-up rig, commenced its initial drilling contract following the completion of the construction and commissioning in April 2009 at a cost of approximately $197 million.
Besides our current nine operating drilling units, we are also in the process of constructing two additional drilling units. During fiscal year 2008, we entered into construction contracts with Jurong Shipyard Pte. Ltd. to construct two Friede & Goldman ExD Millennium semisubmersible drilling units (the ATWOOD OSPREY, a conventionally moored 6,000 foot water depth unit and a to-be-named dynamically positioned 10,000 foot water depth unit). The ATWOOD OSPREY is expected to cost approximately $625 million and is scheduled for delivery in early 2011. The to-be-named dynamically positioned unit is expected to cost approximately $750 million and is scheduled for delivery in mid 2012.
Currently, we have approximately 65% and 35% of our available rig days contracted for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, respectively, with approximately $1.8 billion of revenue backlog compared to approximately $1.0 billion of estimated capital commitments primarily related to the construction of our two new drilling units. For many years, one of our strategic focuses has been maintaining high equipment utilization. We had an 85% utilization rate in fiscal year 2009 and a 100% utilization rate for fiscal years 2008 and 2007 while our utilization rate has averaged over 90% during the past ten years. Of our nine (9) owned operational drilling units, and the two drillings units currently under construction, five (5) have current contract commitments that extend into fiscal year 2011 or later; one (1) has a contract commitment through fiscal year 2010; three (3) have current contract commitments that expire during fiscal year 2010, one (1) is currently idle, and one (1) of our units under construction scheduled for delivery in mid-2012, is currently without a contract.
As has been the trend for the prior five fiscal years, our operating results significantly increased for fiscal year 2009 compared to fiscal year 2008, in part due to the addition of the ATWOOD AURORA to our fleet.
OFFSHORE DRILLING EQUIPMENT
Each type of drilling rig is uniquely designed for different purposes and applications, for operations in different water depths, bottom conditions, environments and geographical areas, and for different drilling and operating requirements. The following descriptions of the various types of drilling rigs we own illustrate the diversified range of applications of our rig fleet.
Semisubmersible Rigs. Each semisubmersible drilling unit has two hulls, the lower of which is capable of being flooded. Drilling equipment is mounted on the main hull. After the drilling unit is towed to location, the lower hull is flooded, lowering the entire drilling unit to its operating draft, and the drilling unit is anchored in place. On completion of operations, the lower hull is deballasted, raising the entire drilling unit to its towing draft. This type of drilling unit is designed to operate in greater water depths than a jack-up drilling rig and in more severe sea conditions than other types of drilling units. Semisubmersible rigs are generally more expensive to operate than jack-up drilling rigs and are often limited in the amount of supplies that can be stored on board.
Semisubmersible Tender Assist Rigs. Semisubmersible tender assist rigs operate like semisubmersible rigs except that their drilling equipment is temporarily installed on permanently constructed offshore support platforms. Semisubmersible tender assist rigs provide crew accommodations, storage facilities and other support for drilling operations.
Jack-up Drilling Rigs. A jack-up drilling rig contains all of the drilling equipment on a single hull designed to be towed to a well site. Once on location, legs are lowered to the sea floor and the unit is raised out of the water by jacking the hull up the legs. On completion of the well, the unit is jacked down, and towed to the next location. A jack-up drilling rig can operate in more severe sea and weather conditions than a drillship and is less expensive to operate than a semisubmersible. However, because it must rest on the sea floor, a jack-up cannot operate in water as deep as that in which a semisubmersible unit can operate. A jack-up drilling rig is a bottom supported rig.
Submersible Drilling Rigs. The submersible drilling rig we own has two hulls, the lower being a mat, which is capable of being flooded. Drilling equipment and crew accommodations are located on the main hull. After the drilling unit is towed to its location, the lower hull is flooded, lowering the entire unit to its operating draft at which it rests on the sea floor. On completion of operations, the lower hull is deballasted, raising the entire unit to its towing draft. This type of drilling unit is designed to operate in shallow water depths ranging from 9 to 70 feet and can operate in moderately severe sea conditions. Although drilling units of this type are less expensive to operate, like a jack-up drilling rig, they cannot operate in water as deep as that in which a semisubmersible rig can operate. A submersible drilling rig is a bottom supported rigs.
We obtain the contracts under which we operate our units either through individual negotiation with the customer or by submitting proposals in competition with other contractors. Our contracts vary in their terms and conditions. The initial term of contracts for our owned and/or managed units has ranged from the length of time necessary to drill one well to several years and is generally subject to early termination in the event of a total loss of the drilling unit, a force majeure event, excessive equipment breakdown or failure to meet minimum performance criteria. It is not unusual for contracts to contain renewal provisions, which in time of weak market conditions are usually at the option of the customer; and in time of strong market demand are usually mutually agreeable.
The rate of compensation specified in each contract depends on the nature of the operation to be performed, the duration of the work, the amount and type of equipment and services provided, the geographic areas involved, market conditions and other variables. Generally, contracts for drilling, management and support services specify a basic rate of compensation computed on a dayrate basis. Such agreements generally provide for a reduced dayrate payable when operations are interrupted by equipment failure and subsequent repairs, field moves, adverse weather conditions or other factors beyond our control. Some contracts also provide for revision of the specified dayrates in the event of material changes in certain items of cost. Any period during which a rig is not earning a full operating dayrate because of the above conditions or because the rig is idle and not on contract will have an adverse effect on operating profits. An over-supply of drilling rigs in any market area can adversely affect our ability to employ our drilling units. Our active rig utilization rate, which excludes contractual downtime for rig upgrades, for fiscal years 2009, 2008 and 2007 was 85%, 100% and 100%, respectively.
We currently expect the following planned zero rate downtime for the following rigs during fiscal year 2010:
VICKSBURG Ten (10) zero rate days during the third and fourth quarter due to required regulatory inspections
RICHMOND Ten (10) zero rate days during the third quarter for required regulatory inspections
ATWOOD SOUTHERN CROSS Ten (10) zero rate days during the fourth quarter for required regulatory inspections
In addition to the above planned downtime, we are always at risk for unplanned downtime. During the four prior fiscal years, we have incurred approximately 1% to 2% of unplanned zero rate days per fiscal year. Maintaining high equipment utilization in up, as well as down, cycles is a big factor in generating cash to satisfy current and future obligations.
Even though we continue to anticipate drilling market challenges in fiscal year 2010, we are currently experiencing increases in bidding activities and remain confident in the long-term outlook for the worldwide offshore drilling industry, especially for deepwater drilling. Despite recent improvement in bidding activities, there continues to be an excess of worldwide rig fleet availability, especially for jack-up rigs and semisubmersible drilling units technically similar to the ATWOOD SOUTHERN CROSS. Dayrates, especially for jack-ups, have declined from levels that existed prior to the commencement of the global financial crisis that continue to negatively impact the availability of capital and liquidity from banks and other providers of credit. The continuing delivery of newly constructed jack-up rigs is also negatively impacting the worldwide supply related to current market demand.
During fiscal year 2009, we incurred idle days on four of our nine drilling rigs; ATWOOD SOUTHERN CROSS, ATWOOD BEACON, VICKSBURG and RICHMOND. Currently, the ATWOOD SOUTHERN CROSS is our only uncontracted rig, with the VICKSBURG, RICHMOND and ATWOOD BEACON having short-term contracts that expire in March 2010, December 2009 and June 2010, respectively. We are continuing to pursue additional contract commitments for these four rigs; however, there is no guarantee that we will not incur idle time on some or all of these rigs during fiscal year 2010.
For long moves of drilling equipment, we attempt to obtain from our customers either a lump sum or a dayrate as mobilization compensation for expenses incurred during the period in transit. In today’s current market environment, we attempt to fully recover our relocation costs but are not always able to do so due to the relative supply and demand of available rigs and current dayrate pricing trends. However, in a stronger market environment, we are generally able to receive a dayrate as mobilization compensation and fully recover our relocation costs. We can give no assurance that we will receive full or partial recovery of any future relocation costs beyond that for which we have already contracted.
Operation of our drilling equipment is subject to the offshore drilling requirements of petroleum exploration companies and agencies of foreign governments. These requirements are, in turn, subject to changes in government policies, world demand and prices for petroleum products, proved reserves in relation to such demand and the extent to which such demand can be met from onshore sources.
The majority of our contracts are denominated in U.S. Dollars, but occasionally a portion of a contract is payable in local currency. To the extent there is a local currency component in a contract, we attempt to match revenue in the local currency to operating costs paid in the local currency such as local labor, shore base expenses, and local taxes, if any.
INSURANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT
Our operations are subject to the usual hazards associated with the drilling of oil and gas wells, such as blowouts, explosions and fires. In addition, our equipment is subject to various risks particular to our industry which we seek to mitigate by maintaining insurance. These risks include leg damage to jack-ups during positioning, capsizing, grounding, collision and damage from severe weather conditions. Any of these risks could result in damage or destruction of drilling rigs and oil and gas wells, personal injury and property damage, suspension of operations or environmental damage through oil spillage or extensive, uncontrolled fires. Therefore, in addition to general business insurance policies, we maintain the following insurance relating to our rigs and rig operations: hull and machinery, loss of hire, builder’s risk, cargo, war risks, protection and indemnity, and excess liability, among others.
Our operations are also subject to disruption due to terrorism or piracy. As a result of significant losses incurred by the insurance industry due to terrorism, offshore drilling rig accidents, damages from hurricanes and other events, we have experienced increases in premiums for certain insurance coverages. Although we believe that we are adequately insured against normal and foreseeable risks in our operations in accordance with industry standards, such insurance may not be adequate to protect us against liability from all consequences of well disasters, marine perils, extensive fire damage, damage to the environment or disruption due to terrorism. To date, we have not experienced difficulty in obtaining insurance coverage, although we can provide no assurance as to the future availability of such insurance or the cost thereof.