Noble Corporation has exercised its option to purchase the
premium jackup drilling unit, the Maersk Viking, from a subsidiary of A.P.
Moeller for an exercise price of $32.9 million. As previously announced, in
June of 2003 Noble paid an option fee of $15.0 million to the seller for the
right to acquire the unit. Noble's aggregate purchase price for the MODEC
300C, independent leg, cantilever jackup is therefore $47.9 million. The
Maersk Viking is currently in the territorial waters of the United Arab
Emirates being assimilated into our Middle East fleet which is now comprised
of 12 units. The unit is scheduled to commence an 880-day contract in Qatar
in mid September 2004 after an upgrade program. The unit has been renamed the
Noble Cees van Diemen.
James C. Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Corporation,
said, "We are pleased to be able to exercise the option to purchase this unit,
which will be an important contributor to our Middle East operations."