Noble Sets Sights on Pemex Management Contracts

Noble Corp (NYSE: NE) plans to get involved with managing projects for Mexico's state oil company Pemex, Noble CEO and chairman James Day said during a conference call Tuesday to discuss second quarter results.

"Mexico is holding its own," Day said, adding the company has eight drilling rigs operating there. "We like Mexico, obviously with eight units down there it's one of the more profitable parts of the world for us," Day said. "There's not a lot of upside right now to Mexico, but we are working on some proposals to Pemex that may bring some added value in terms of revenues and earnings, potentially getting involved in more management of projects," he said.

Noble reported an increase of 91 operating days in Mexico in the second quarter of 2004 compared to the second quarter of 2003 due to the mobilization of the Noble Bill Jennings rig from the US Gulf of Mexico in August 2003.

In Brazil, the company's Noble Roger Eason drillship is in the shipyard undergoing planned maintenance and upgrades, with completion scheduled this quarter. "That project continues to proceed on track, we are in the final negotiations on an opportunity for the Eason in Brazil, we'll know in the next couple of weeks how successful we are," Day said.

In addition, when the Noble Muravlenko rig finishes its contract for federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) it will go into shipyard for repairs on its thrusters and "we anticipate an opportunity in country for it also when it comes out of the shipyard," Day said. Noble currently operates one deepwater semisubmersible and three deepwater drillships offshore Brazil.

Noble performs drilling services worldwide with its fleet of 59 mobile offshore drilling units including 13 semisubs, three dynamically positioned drillships, 40 jackups and three submersibles.

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