Ocean Rig drilling company threatened by low crude prices

Lower international crude prices have led to the postponement and cancellation of numerous exploration and production plans by energy companies worldwide, a development that has not left Greek companies unaffected, including Ocean Rig, the drilling company owned by shipowner Giorgos Economou.

According to shipping industry news portal TradeWinds, Ocean Rig is examining various options, including debt restructuring and filing for bankruptcy, as a result of the lower crude prices, whose level, ranging between 45 to 48 dollars, makes deep-water drilling unfeasible.

The news emerged when Ocean Rig’s executive vice president Anthony Kandylidis, presenting company financial results, declared that he sees no substantial improvement in the prospects for the deep-water drilling industry before 2020.

Ocean Rig’s debt figure amounts to 4.3 billion dollars. Kandylidis informed that the company’s cash funds are enough to keep Ocean Rig afloat until the end of 2017, adding that the company will have been left with three drilling platforms, which, combined with a debt level of between three billion and four billion euros, makes the “situation not manageable”.

The company estimates that the drilling industry cannot recover unless crude prices rise to levels of between 60 and 70 dollars per barrel, a prospect not expect any sooner than 2020.