Russian company Sovmcomflot has decided to extend the charter of Polarcus' Vyacheslav Tikhonov seismic vessel for three years, but might redeliver the Ivan Gubkin vessel back to the Oslo-listed owner.
The Vyacheslav Tikhonov, owned by Polarcus, has been on a charter with Sovcomflot since its delivery in 2011.
Sovcomflot in January said it would return the vessel back to Polarcus, but eventually, a decision was made for the vessel to remain with the Russian firm, without a day rate paid until the start-up of a new project for the vessel in Q3 2020. After the completion of that project, the vessel was expected to be returned to Polarcus.
However, in a statement on Friday, Polarcus said that the project for the Vyacheslav Tikhonov had started with day rate paid in full until demobilization which is scheduled for about October 30, 2020 and that the Russian company had decided to keep the vessel on for three more years.
"Sovcomflot has exercised options to extend the firm period of the charter for 3 years commencing immediately [after the expiration of the current contract]. Hire will be fixed at half the current day rate throughout the 3-year extension," Polarcus said. The vessels AIS shows it is currently located in the Russian far east, offshore the Sakhalin island.
While the extension has been secured for the Vyacheslav Tikhonov, on the other hand, Ivan Gubkin (Ex-Polarcus Amani), Polarcus' other vessel working for Sovcomflot, might be returned to Polarcus this month.
"Ivan Gubkin [...] has been on charter to Sovcomflot since 2017. In light of the extension to the [Vyacheslav Tikhonov] charter, it has been agreed that Sovcomflot may redeliver [Ivan Gubkin] after 21 September 2020," Polarcus said.
To remind, the Ivan Gubkin (ex-Polarcus Amani) was delivered to Sovcomflot in 2017. The contract should have lasted for five and a half years, but it might now be shortened.
Polarcus in July reported a drop in second-quarter revenue citing contract cancellations and lower dayrates caused by the slump in oil prices and the oil companies' exploration budget cuts that followed.
During the quarter, the company saw its vessel utilization drop to 50%, compared to 72% in Q2 2019. Backlog was approximately USD 141 million, compared to USD 200 million at the same time last year.
The Dubai-headquartered company said it didn't see the seismic market situation improving much this year and expected fleet utilization to remain at similarly low levels in Q3 2020.
It, however, showed some optimism about 2021 prospects, based on discussions with E&P companies, and on the expected global seismic fleet reduction. Read more here.