Dolphin on seismic profits roll

by on November 14, 2012 2:54 pm BST

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – a key measure of underlying operational performance – increased to $28.9 million from $9.1 million a year ago.

“High operational efficiency and fleet utilisation, improved contract pricing and strong multi-client sales from new projects have generated better-than-expected third quarter revenues and profit,” said chief executive Atle Jacobsen.

Dolphin carried out its first multi-client surveys during the quarter, including the 2000 square-kilometre Gulspurv shoot off Norway targeting hot Barents Sea acreage on offer in the upcoming 22nd licensing round.

The company is now mobilising vessels for major 3D surveys for Statoil off Tanzania and Shell in South Africa as it targets increased seismic demand driven by strong exploration activity both on its Norwegian home turf and in deep-water provinces off East and West Africa, Brazil and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dolphin has secured employment for its chartered five-vessel fleet into next year, with more work prospects in sight due to strong tendering activity, with a total backlog of $106 million.

It is also set to take delivery of a pair of newbuilds – Sanco Swift and Sanco Sword – in the second quarter of 2013 and first quarter of 2014 respectively, although its existing vessel Polar Explorer is set to be returned to its owner by the end of January under the terms of the charter contract.

The Oslo-listed company has seen its market capitalisation multiply almost threefold to Nkr1.8 billion ($313 million) over the past two years after riding the resurgence in the seismic market, while it has been able to raise Nkr897 million in new equity during the period.

Dolphin has recently bolstered its coffers further by raising Nkr400 million in unsecured bond financing as it capitalised on the hot bonds market.