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viernes, 29 de diciembre de 2006

TODCO Provides Update on Mexico Operations

HOUSTON, Dec. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- TODCO (NYSE: THE - News; the "Company") today announced the signing of a two-year drilling contract for its drilling rig, THE 206 with PEMEX in Mexico. The two-year contract will commence in late June 2007, following completion of THE 206's current drilling contract with PEMEX in Mexico. Total revenues from the two-year contract are anticipated to be approximately $82 million. This contract contains a customary termination provision, which allows PEMEX cancellation rights on five days notice, subject to certain conditions.

Additionally, the drilling rig THE 205 had completed its three-year drilling contract with PEMEX and was jacked up at a safe harbor location offshore Veracruz, Mexico while preparing to mobilize back to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico when it was struck by a cargo vessel owned by an unrelated party. The Company has not yet determined the full extent of the damage, the necessary cost and time to repair the rig or recoveries against the cargo vessel owner. The rig is insured for $33 million with a deductible for rig damage of approximately $4 million. The Company is self-insured for 30% of all losses above the deductible.

Statements regarding anticipated revenues, as well as any other statements that are not historical facts in this release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of U.S. securities laws and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These include, but are not limited to, general market conditions, estimated reactivation and mobilization costs, estimated reactivation and mobilization times, contract performance, governmental actions and other factors detailed in TODCO's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated.

TODCO is a leading provider of contract oil and gas drilling services with the largest rig fleet in the shallow water of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and along the U.S. Gulf Coast. TODCO's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "THE".

Source: TODCO

Bad weather halts cleanup of offshore oil spill

By John Porretto

HOUSTON – Strong winds and high seas have halted the cleanup and repair of a broken offshore oil pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico, probably until Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday.
The pipeline, located about 30 miles southeast of Galveston, already has leaked an estimated 43,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf; roughly 500 gallons a day, or 21 gallons an hour, continue to escape the line.

The spill occurred after a portion of the High Island Pipeline System ruptured early Sunday. The pipeline's owner, Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline LP, shut down the line after detecting a pressure loss in the system, the Coast Guard said.

Plains Pipeline spokesman Jordan Janak said it appears the pipeline broke when it was struck by the anchor of a ship trying to moor in the area, where the water is about 90 feet deep.
“It looks like that's what caused the rupture, but we're going to have to go down when the weather clears to get more definitive information,” Janak said.

Late Wednesday, divers were able to seal one end of the broken line by inflating rubber buoys in the pipe, according to the Coast Guard and Plains Pipeline. Divers were unable to locate the other end of the 14-inch pipe because of diminished visibility caused by rough water and heavy silt.

The weather caused the dive ship American Victory and the skimmer Ampol Recovery to cease operations Wednesday night.

“We're kind of bound by the weather at this point,” Janak said.

Waves at the spill site were 5 feet to 6 feet Thursday and expected to reach 8 feet by day's end, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Winds were gusting up to 25 mph. The weather is expected to worsen Friday and Saturday, NOAA said.

By Wednesday, the spill had spread to a light sheen 4.7 miles long and 80 yards at its widest spot, the Coast Guard said.

The spill's size is significant, but environmental damage could be minimal because the crude oil is a relatively light grade that disperses more easily, is far from land and should get pushed away from shore by the wind and tide, said Greg Pollock, deputy commissioner of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program in the Texas General Land Office.

Pollock said his office typically responds to between 900 and 1,000 spills off the Texas coast each year, most smaller than the Plains Pipeline spill.

Janak said it was too early to say when the pipeline would be repaired, or how much the spill will cost Plains Pipeline.

On the New York Stock Exchange, Plains All American Pipeline shares rose 22 cents to close at $51.31. The shares have traded in a range of $38.65 to $52.23 in the past year.