Driller Awilco in the red, starts work on Shell’s Puffin location

A puffin with food in its mouth. Picture by Melaine Felton
A puffin with food in its mouth. Picture by Melaine Felton

North Sea drilling contractor Awilco kicked off operations at Shell UK’s Puffin location in the third quarter of 2018.

The company, based in Westhill, near Aberdeen, owns and operates two refurbished semi-submersible drilling rigs, WilPhoenix and WilHunter.

The Oslo-listed firm has also ordered one new build rig for drilling in harsh environments, including the Barents Sea.

WilPhoenix has been booked by Shell, while WilHunter was cold stacked in Invergordon during the third quarter.

The company reported third quarter contract revenues of £2.3 million, down from £24.8m for the same period last year.

It suffered pre-tax losses of £7.9m, compared to a surplus of £11.6m in Q3 2017.

Awilco said the North Sea fleet could soon be fully booked for summer 2019 due to a reduction in rig numbers and increased demand.

If that happened, day rates would come under pressure and utilisation levels in winter 2019-20 would go up, Awilco predicted.

At the end of September, Awilco’s Westhill-based headcount numbered 25 full-time employees supported by three contractors.