SOURCE: Athens Group

January 21, 2010 14:46 ET

Athens Group Reports Third Consecutive Year of Record Revenue Growth

High Rates of Control System-Related NPT Increase Demand for Highly-Specialized Services

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - January 21, 2010) - Today, Athens Group announced a 64% increase in year-over-year revenue for 2009 as well as a 225% increase in booked business for 2010. Athens Group is experiencing a growing demand for its Drilling Technology Assurance(SM) (DTA) Services on newbuilds and existing fleets as drilling contractors and operators become increasingly aware of the need for control systems and software engineering expertise on today's high-specification assets. In 2010, Athens Group's Proven Practices Methodology(SM) will be used by a growing base of customers to reduce Non-Productive time (NPT) and improve safety during all phases of the rig lifecycle including construction, operations, annual audits, and refurbs.

New customers in 2009 included: Pacific Drilling Services, Inc.; Seadrill Management AS; Atwood Oceanics; Husky Energy; Frontier Drilling; Shell U.K. Limited; and ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Norway AS. Repeat customers included BP; Transocean; Ensco; Nexen Petroleum USA Inc.; Maersk Drilling; Anadarko; and Stena Drilling.

"At the beginning of the recent newbuild spike, virtually all offshore rigs had contracts before construction began," said Mike Haney, CEO of Athens Group. "Due to the addition of seventy-six new drillships, semisubs and jackups in 2009 and forty-eight of the same in 2010, this is no longer the case. Consequently, drilling contractors are increasingly employing our services to improve the overall performance of their rigs and make them more attractive to potential operators. Some of the services they are requesting to fill this need are Software Configuration Management and Alarm Management. We're also seeing operators with long-term contracts (and therefore long-term risk) collaborating with drilling contractors to jointly fund our DTA services across the entire rig lifecycle."

About Athens Group

The annual cost of NPT on a high-specification offshore rig is U.S. $100 - $150M+ and 20 - 30% of NPT is Drilling Control System related.* As independent software consultants, Athens Group helps drilling contractors and operators reduce NPT, improve safety and increase operational efficiency by helping to prevent software-related equipment failures. Our Drilling Technology Assurance(SM) (DTA) Services were developed specifically for highly-integrated rig and Drilling Control Systems to mitigate risk and remediate problems in all phases of the rig lifecycle. Athens Group has more expertise in this specialized area than any other vendor. Our Proven Practices Methodology; software, hardware, and network topology experience; and vendor drilling equipment experience speed identification of risks and resolution of issues. The cost ratio of our services to NPT savings typically exceeds 1:100. Our customers, industry-leading companies such as Anadarko, BP, Ensco, ExxonMobil, Noble Drilling, Stena, Conoco Phillips, Hess, Hydril, Pride, Maersk, Stena Drilling, Pacific Drilling, Shell and Transocean are all referenceable and over 70% have engaged us on multiple rigs.

*The State of NPT on High-Specification Offshore Rigs: First Annual Benchmarking Report.

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