Noble rakes in global offshore rig contracts

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Offshore rig contractor Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE) has added multiple contract extensions and new work worldwide.

Offshore Egypt, Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. (GSPC) has contracted the Noble Paul Romano for a six-well, 180-day drilling campaign at a $325,000 dayrate. 

Inactive in the US Gulf of Mexico since June 2010, the semisubmersible will be relocated to a drilling location in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and is expected to begin the new contract in October 2011. The contract can be extended for an additional four wells. The Noble Paul Romano is a deepwater semisub capable of drilling to 30,000 feet in waters measuring 6,000 feet deep.

Following the deepwater drilling moratorium and subsequent drilling permitting delays, this is the second Noble drilling rig that has left the US Gulf for other oil and gas regions globally. The Noble Clyde Boudreaux was contracted by Shell and left for Brazilian waters earlier this year. 

Mexico's state-run oil firm Pemex has extended its drilling contract with the Noble Max Smith semisubmersible. Starting in August 2011, the extension adds another five months to the current contract at a rate of $380,000 a day. In operation offshore Mexico since August 2008, the ultra-deepwater Noble Max Smith is capable of drilling to 30,000 feet in waters measuring 7,000 feet deep.

Additionally, the deepwater semisubmersible Noble Driller has achieved its full dayrate of $383,000 in its contract with Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) (NYSE:RDS-B) for drilling operations in the US Gulf of Mexico. Formerly known as the Frontier Driller, the semisub was bought from Frontier Drilling and was already operating in the Gulf at the time of the acquisition. Capable of drilling in waters up to 5,000 feet deep, the Noble Driller is firmly contracted through June 2013, with five one-year options.

Wintershall has contracted the Noble George Sauvageau for a full-year drilling campaign in the Southern North Sea. The rig had been working for Wintershall in the North Sea since January 2011 at a rate of $91,000 to $93,000 a day. Firmly committed through 2012, the jackup will earn an increased dayrate of $115,000 under the new contract.

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