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Pacific Drilling lands Mauritania extension

Drilling contractor preparing Pacific Khamsin for work for Equinor in US Gulf

Pacific Drilling said it had landed an extension for the drillship Pacific Santa Ana with Total for work in Mauritania, also highlighting that the drillship Pacific Khamsin was on schedule and being prepared for operations in the Gulf of Mexico with Equinor starting in November.

The drilling contractor reported a net loss of $73.6 million for the second quarter, compared to a loss of $103 million in the year-ago period, but said that it continued to see a strengthening of the company's underlying market.

"The market for deep-water drilling continues to show signs of gradual strengthening as both the pace and number of new fixtures improved during the second quarter," chief executive Bernie Wolford said.

"We also saw customers moving beyond the spot market to consider more substantial drilling campaigns, including tenders for programs with one or more year terms.

"In particular, the Gulf of Mexico is showing signs of improving demand, especially in Mexico, as operators are approaching their lease commitment-well deadlines.”

Equinor has the Pacific Khamsin booked from November 2019 to January 2020 in the US Gulf, with three one-well options. The Norwegian explorer has filed an exploration plan to drill its long-awaited Monument prospect.

Contract drilling revenue was $76 million in the quarter, up from $65.9 million sequentially and $66.5 million in the year-ago period.

But results in the past couple of years have been dragged down by major depreciation charges, which in the second quarter were $59.3 million.

That compared to operating expenses of $52.2 million, general and administrative expenses of $10 million and interest expense of $24.4 million.

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