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NOBLE : Corporation Exercises Options to Construct Two Additional High-Specification Jackups

08/01/2011 | 08:50am US/Eastern

ZUG, Switzerland, Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) today announced that the Company has exercised options with Sembcorp Marine's subsidiary Jurong Shipyard for the construction of two additional high-specification heavy duty, harsh environment JU3000N jackup drilling rigs. This order will bring to six the total number of new jackup rigs the Company will have under construction with the Jurong Shipyard.

David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Noble Corporation, stated, "We continue to see a growing interest from clients for the advanced features of the JU3000N jackup design. Opportunities for these units are evident in several offshore regions, including the North Sea, Middle East and Asia. This latest rig order reflects our continuing commitment to expand our ownership of industry-leading offshore drilling technology, enabling us to address some of the most demanding well construction challenges around the world."

Total delivered costs for these latest two orders are estimated at approximately $245 million per rig, including project management, spares, and start-up costs, but excluding capitalized interest. Payment terms are consistent with the order of the four previous rigs placed with the Jurong Shipyard since December 2010: 20 percent of the construction price due at contract signing, 20 percent due at steel cutting, and the remainder due at rig delivery. The two latest orders are expected to be delivered from the shipyard during the third and fourth quarters of 2014, following which would be mobilization and acceptance testing by their respective future customers.

The Friede & Goldman JU3000N design is an enhanced evolution of the JU2000E design and represents the latest generation of high-specification jackup drilling rig 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 blowout preventer system. The units are capable of off-line pipe handling and offer accommodations for up to 150 people.

In addition to six newbuild jackup projects, Noble has seven ultra-deepwater drillships under construction, three of which are scheduled to be delivered later this year. The Company continues to evaluate an option it has with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. for the construction of an additional ultra-deepwater drillship that expires on August 31, 2011, with delivery taking place in the second half of 2014.

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 78 offshore drilling units (including seven ultra-deepwater rigs and six jackup 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'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 newbuild costs, delivery dates, performance capabilities and specifications, payment terms, demand, and strategic intent, 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, negotiation of and agreement on a final construction contract, 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-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

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