ZUG, Switzerland, Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) today announced that a subsidiary has received notice from Marathon Oil Company (Marathon), its customer for the ultra-deepwater semisubmersible Noble Jim Day, of Marathon's intent to exercise its right of termination if the unit does not commence operations by December 31, 2010. As previously disclosed, Marathon has the right to terminate the drilling contract in the event the unit is not ready to commence operations by December 31, 2010. Marathon further provided notice that it believes the failure of the U.S. Department of the Interior to finalize deepwater drilling and spill response regulations and the Department's decision to withhold new deepwater drilling permits is a force majeure event. Additionally, Marathon attempted to provide notice of a force majeure condition under the contract in the event the rig is accepted by December 31, 2010.
The Company continues to work diligently with Marathon to complete acceptance testing and believes the rig is materially complete and that Marathon should fulfill its contractual obligation to accept the rig prior to December 31, 2010. The Noble Jim Day arrived in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico on September 24, 2010 to begin its final acceptance process for Marathon. In light of Marathon's notice, the Company is evaluating all of its options and intends to vigorously defend its rights under the drilling contract. Additionally, the Company is considering alternative operational opportunities for the unit in the event Marathon attempts to reject the rig.
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 69 offshore drilling units (including five 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 http://www.noblecorp.com.
Statements regarding the Marathon drilling contract and any potential termination, acceptance of the rig, commencement of operations, Marathon's declaration of force majeure, additional opportunities, 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 governmental actions, litigation risks, operating hazards and delays, risks associated with operations outside of the U.S., actions by customers and other third parties, factors affecting the level of activity in the oil and gas industry, supply and demand of drilling rigs, factors affecting the duration of contracts, the actual amount of downtime, factors that reduce applicable dayrates, violations of anti-corruption laws, hurricanes and other weather conditions, the future price of oil and gas and other factors detailed in the Company's most recent Form 10-K, Form 10-Q's 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