Bermuda-based deepwater drilling contractor Seadrill has announced its results for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2018, reporting an operating loss of $69m.

This represents a 35% improvement over the third quarter (Q3) of 2018 when the company reported an operating loss of $106m. Seadrill’s net loss for Q4 was $360m, with a net loss per share of $3.62.

The company also announced a total operating revenue of $292m, a 17% increase from 2018’s Q3 revenue of $249m.

It attributed this to the West Phoenix and West Hercules drilling rigs in Norway working for more days and at higher dayrates during Q4. Other factors include the West Elara rig increasing its contractual dayrates and the Sevan Louisiana returning to service in the Gulf of Mexico.

Seadrill CEO Anton Dibowitz said: “The offshore drilling market continues to show signs of improvement with increased tendering activity and better contract economics. We expect more activity in 2019 to lead to a tighter supply demand balance and improved pricing in 2020 as the recovery progresses.

“We are delighted to have entered into a joint venture with Sonangol to manage and operate four rigs focused on the Angolan market. This relationship provides us with access to a market that is expected to show significant growth over the next five years as well as an opportunity to continue expanding our fleet of premium ultra-deepwater rigs.

“We remain focused on continued cost reduction and disciplined use of capital including the terms on which we will contract our premium fleet.”

Seadrill expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in Q1 2019 to be lower than Q4 2018’s EBITDA of $73m, at around $60m. This reflects downtime on the West Hercules and Sevan Louisiana rigs, as well as the receipt of a $26m overdue receivable.