Noble orders two more high-spec jackups from Sembcorp Marine

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Offshore rig contractor Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE) has exercised options to construct two more high-specification, heavy-duty jackup drilling rigs with Sembcorp Marine's Jurong Shipyard.

The Friede & Goldman JU3000N-design, harsh-environment jackups will be capable of drilling to a total depth of 30,000 feet in waters up to 400 feet deep. Scheduled for delivery in the third and fourth quarters of 2014, the new jackups will cost $245 million each to construct and start-up.

With accommodations for up to 150 personnel, the new jackups will include a 75-foot cantilever, 2.5 million pounds of hook load capacity, a high-capacity mud circulating system and a 15,000 psi blowout preventer (BOP) system.

Although the rigs are not yet contracted, the jackup options follow a major push across the industry to build high-spec jackup drilling rigs.

Noble Corp. is currently undergoing a major growth stage, adding a considerable amount of offshore rigs to its operating fleet of 65 rigs. The two new jackups bring the total number of new jackups Noble has under construction at Jurong Shipyard to six rigs.

Noble also has seven ultra-deepwater drillships under construction; three of which are scheduled for delivery in 2011. Additionally, Noble is considering optioning another ultra-deepwater drillship with Hyundai Heavy Industries later this year.

"Opportunities for these units are evident in several offshore regions, including the North Sea, Middle East and Asia," said David Williams, chairman, president and CEO of Noble Corp. "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."

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