Awilco in the red as WilHunter struggles to find work

Awilco rigs WilPhoenix and WilHunter
Awilco rigs WilPhoenix and WilHunter

North Sea contractor Awilco Drilling slid into the red last year as it struggled to find work for one of its two rigs.

The Aberdeen-headquartered company suffered pre-tax losses of £16.4 million in 2018, against profits of £22.3m the previous year.

Contract revenues fell to £43.7m from £102m.

Awilco owns two semi-submersible drilling rigs – WilPhoenix and WilHunter.

WilPhoenix was used by Shell UK at the Kingfisher location throughout the fourth quarter of 2018.

At the end of last year, that rig had a contract backlog of £23.7m.

But WilHunter was cold stacked in Invergordon in Q4.

Awilco incurred an impairment charge of £19m for the three months due to the “continued cold stack status and lack of visibility of contracting opportunities in the near term for WilHunter”.

In the UK, Awilco predicted that drilling fleets will soon be sold out for summer 2019 due to reduced supply and increased demand.

“This is expected to result in day rate pressure and reduced seasonality in the region with higher utilisation levels forecast in the winter of 2019 into 2020,” the company said.

Awilco had 25 full-time employees in Aberdeen, supported by three contractors, at the end of 2018.

In March 2018, the Oslo-listed company ordered one new-build, harsh-environment rig.