* Q1 EBITDA $713 mln vs fcast $637 mln
* Proposes quarterly dividend of $0.88 vs fcast $0.86
* Sees strong demand ahead
OSLO, May 28 (Reuters) - Seadrill, the world’s largest offshore oil driller, beat forecasts with record core earnings in the first quarter and it said high day rates and expected orders would make the second quarter strong too.
High oil prices have driven strong demand for offshore drilling rigs by encouraging companies to search for hydrocarbon deposits in more difficult and remote areas.
Seadrill, controlled by shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, said its sizeable orber backlog was expected to increase, that rates for hiring rigs were high and that the prices for new rigs were low.
“Based on the operational performance so far in the quarter, the shareholders should expect continued strong results and dividend support in Q2,” Seadrill said.
The firm proposed a dividend of $0.88 in the quarter, up 3 cents from the previous quarter and above analysts’ median expectation for 0.86 cents.
The Oslo-listed firm posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciations and amortisation (EBITDA) of $713 million in the January-March period, including a $61 million gain from the sale of its West Janus jack-up vessel, up from $595 million in the year-ago period.
Analysts had forecast a $637 million core profit.
Seadriller is the world’s largest rig owner by market capitalisation ahead of Transocean.
Seadrill shares were up 1.6 percent at 1039 GMT.