Rowan Companies, Inc. Earnings Call Nuggets: Newbuild Drillships Contract, Southeast Asia

On Wednesday, Rowan Companies, Inc. (NYSE:RDC) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Here’s what you need to know now.

Newbuild Drillships Contract

Douglas Becker – Bank of America Merrill Lynch: Just want to get a sense for how early, if everything falls into place, we could see a contract for the newbuild drillships?

Mark A. Keller – EVP, Business Development: Right now as I said in our prepared remarks, we are tracking 16 projects. We have approximately eight active tenders that are currently out. Douglas, it could happen any day, it’s just hard to predict, as operators do their due diligence. As Matt said in his opening remarks, we feel good about where we are, the feedback from the operators remains very strong and we’re getting a lot of interest, but to give you a timeframe of when we’ll get awarded the job is very difficult.

A Closer Look: Rowan Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

Douglas Becker – Bank of America Merrill Lynch: I fully appreciate that, but it does sound like it could be in the second quarter the way things are shaping up?

W. Matt Ralls – President and CEO: We think some of those will be awarded in the second quarter and it remains to be seen who guess them but…

Douglas Becker – Bank of America Merrill Lynch: How does that relate to the fourth drillship option, I think it was set to expiry maybe a month or so ago, was that renewed and just the outlook for that relative to the very robust outlook for drillships that we see right now?

W. Matt Ralls – President and CEO: We are still keeping that option alive. It runs currently till the end of this month, but we fully anticipate that we can continue to kind of keep rolling it as we evaluate the opportunities for additional quick equipment. I would say that, right now, we are pretty optimistic and enthusiastic about what’s going on in the ultra-deepwater market, but for our purposes, we need to see some contracting activity on our ships before we feel good about adding a fourth speculative rig. As we said, we feel pretty good that could happen, but it has to (there).

Douglas Becker – Bank of America Merrill Lynch: Quick housekeeping item for Bill. When we just take a look at operating days and the average day rate and compare it to the revenue, little bit higher than the difference we have seen in the past. Was there anything particular in the first quarter revenue number that is notable?

William H. Wells – SVP, CFO and Treasurer: No, I can’t think of anything there Doug.

Southeast Asia

Dave Wilson – Howard Weil: Mark, with your increasing presence in Southeast Asia, have you come across any opportunities for your more conventional jack-ups, the Alaska or the Louisiana, where it’s worthwhile to move those over there? I know there is lot of capacity the coming in that region, but I was wondering if there are any opportunities there even from a tender-assist type capacity for those rigs?

Mark A. Keller – EVP, Business Development: We have approached the operators in the region for skid-off as you. As you just mentioned, there’s a lot of tender-assist activity in the region, none of them have materialized as of yet. We’ve done presentations for Petronas and all the major operators, but we’re still working on it. It just hasn’t happened yet.

Dave Wilson – Howard Weil: A follow-on the drillships. I know there has been a lot of talk in the industry of labor, wage inflation, but I just wanted to delve a little deeper into how or what the current plans are to staff up these rigs?

Unidentified Company Speaker: We’ve got a good plan starting early. We’ll actually hired our first rig management and (OIMs) and captains for the first rig and we’re staffing up. I think we got an attractive company to work for and we are not anticipating significant issues.

W. Matt Ralls – President and CEO: The management team that runs that group has a deep history in this part of the industry and we believe and have very good reputation and we’re quite confident in their ability to attract the right kind of people. Obviously, from a drilling standpoint, substantial number of the new people will come out of the Rowan fleet.

Dave Wilson – Howard Weil: Final one if I could sneak in here on the Gorilla IV, the status of any collection from Pemex, is there any update there?

W. Matt Ralls – President and CEO: The only thing to say there Dave, is that, we do expect to receive everything that we’ve reported. I mean there is another amount that’s in dispute that we’ve never reported and it’s hard to say what the prospects for that are, but everything that’s been reported we expect to receive. Just to be clear, we firmly believe we are (indiscernible) to everything and we have made that position known to Pemex and we’re embarking on the administrative hearing process to try to get some traction on that issue.