Noble Corporation Announces Construction of High Specification Jackups

Dec 21, 2010, 09:00 ET from Noble Corporation

ZUG, Switzerland, Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) today announced that the Company has entered into an agreement for the construction of two high-specification heavy duty, harsh environment jackup drilling rigs with Sembcorp Marine's subsidiary Jurong Shipyard in Singapore. The new units are scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter 2012 and second quarter of 2013, respectively.  Total delivered costs are estimated at approximately US$220 million per rig, including project management, spares, and start-up costs, but excluding capitalized interest.  Payment terms are twenty percent of the construction price due at contract signing, twenty percent due at steel cutting, and the remainder due at rig delivery.  The contract also contains options for up to four additional units which must be exercised by January 1, 2012.  Each option unit is priced based on the original unit price, plus a potential escalation factor, with future deliveries scheduled in six month increments beginning in late 2013.

The Friede & Goldman JU3000N design is an enhanced evolution of the JU2000E design and represents the latest generation of high specification jackup drilling rigs with greater capacities and capabilities than most existing units. The rigs, which are approximately 231 feet in length and 270 feet in breadth, will have the capability to operate in water depths up to 400 feet and drill to depths of 30,000 feet.  The rigs will each have a seventy-five foot cantilever, 2.5 million pounds of hook load capacity, a high capacity mud circulating system, and a 15,000 psi blow out preventer system.  The units are capable of off-line pipe handling and offer accommodations for up to 150 people.

"We are excited to announce the turn-key construction of these units which represent the next step in our ongoing strategy to expand the capabilities of our fleet and position ourselves for the future," said David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Noble Corporation.  "When completed, these enhanced versions of our already successful three JU2000E units added between 2007 and 2009 will be some of the most capable jackups in the world.   Based on our views of the increasing demand for high specification units, we expect that they will command premium dayrates and reward our shareholders with excellent returns."

About Noble

Noble is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. Noble performs, through its subsidiaries, contract drilling services with a fleet of 71 offshore drilling units (including six drilling rigs currently under construction), located worldwide, including in the Middle East, India, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa and Asian Pacific. Noble also owns and operates a dynamically positioned floating production, storage, offloading vessel.  Noble's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NE". Additional information on Noble Corporation is available via the worldwide web at

Statements regarding newbuild costs, delivery dates, performance capabilities, operating areas, payment schedules, shareholder returns, dayrates, strategic intent and market outlooks, as well as any other statements that are not historical facts in this release, are forward-looking statements that involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These include but are not limited to actions by third parties, corporate approvals,  governmental actions, litigation risks, operating hazards and delays, risks associated with construction outside of the U.S., factors affecting the level of activity in the oil and gas industry, supply and demand of drilling rigs, factors affecting dayrates and the duration of contracts, factors that affect time in the shipyard, weather conditions, the future prices of oil and gas and other factors detailed in the Company's most recent Form 10-K, Form 10-Qs and other 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.

SOURCE Noble Corporation