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Noble Announces Agreement to Construct a Drillship

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 8/9/2010, Location: Asia

Noble Corporation announced that a subsidiary has signed contracts for the construction of a new, dynamically positioned ultra-deepwater Globetrotter-class drillship with South Korea's STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co., LTD ("STX") and Dutch-based design and construction firm Huisman Equipment B.V.

The Noble Globetrotter II drillship is the second unit to be constructed for the Company utilizing a two phase process wherein the hull will be built by STX at their state-of-the-art facility in Dalian, China, and then the unit will be delivered to the Netherlands where Huisman will oversee the installation and commissioning of the topside equipment. As previously reported, operations are expected to commence on this second unit in the second half of 2013 and on the first Noble Globetrotter in late 2011. The delivered cost of Noble Globetrotter II, excluding capitalized interest, is estimated at $550 million. Both units are contracted to work for Shell under 10-year terms as previously announced in conjunction with Noble's acquisition of FDR Holdings Limited. The contract dayrates during the first five years are $410,000 per day plus a 15 percent performance bonus potential. During the second five years, the dayrates will be based on a market index, repriced every six months, and the units will also be eligible for a 15 percent performance bonus.

"We are excited to announce the continuation of our newbuild program with the addition of this second new ultra-deepwater Globetrotter-class rig," said David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble. "Having secured contracts for both of our Noble Globetrotter drillships, these units further our goals of presenting our shareholders with superior returns while at the same time offering an uncompromising product to our customers and moving the Noble fleet towards more advanced technology," added Williams.

The Noble Globetrotter II will measure 620 feet long and 105 feet wide and will utilize Huisman's multi-purpose tower design, capable of conducting both drilling and pipe assembly operations contemporaneously. The drillship will be capable of drilling to a vertical depth of 40,000 feet and will feature DP-3 station-keeping ability, 18,000 tons of variable deck load, and quarters for 180 personnel.

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