The commitment includes the negotiation and signature of a definitive drilling contract by the parties no later than February 15, 2005, with a primary term of two years and with Shell having an option for the unit upon expiration of the initial two-year term at a mutually agreeable dayrate. The Company estimates the drilling contract value at between $142 million and $153 million, based on the current equipment configuration, depending on the definitive contract's base operating dayrate.
As previously reported by the Company, the unit is located at Signal Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where the Company suspended its upgrade project in mid-2003 pending an operator commitment. Substantially all major steel work on the hull was completed prior to suspension of the project, and long lead time items of equipment have already been delivered or ordered. The Company will immediately recommence work on the upgrade project, with overall completion and commissioning estimated for the third quarter 2006.
Separately, the Company announced that Shell has indicated it desires to extend the contract for the Noble Jim Thompson, a Noble EVA-4000(TM) deepwater semisubmersible, for a period not less than 90 days after conclusion of its current 200-day contract, subject to a dayrate mutually agreeable to the parties. The current contract for the Noble Jim Thompson extends through June 2005.
Noble Corporation is a leading provider of diversified services for the oil and gas industry. Contract drilling services are performed with the Company's fleet of 60 mobile offshore drilling units located in key markets worldwide. This fleet consists of 13 semisubmersibles, three dynamically positioned drillships, 41 jackups and three submersibles. Approximately 80 percent of the fleet is currently deployed in international markets, principally including the Middle East, Mexico, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa, India, and the Mediterranean Sea. The Company provides technologically advanced drilling-related products and services designed to create value for our customers. The Company also provides labor contract drilling services, well site and project management services, and engineering services. The Company's ordinary shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NE".
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