Noble Drilling Corporation announced that it has formed a joint venture with Lime Rock Partners, and that the joint venture has acquired the Ocean Scotian, a North Sea jackup, for $32.7 million. Concurrent with the acquisition, the rig was renamed the Noble Julie Robertson. Noble Drilling owns fifty percent of the joint venture, and will manage the upgrade, marketing and operation of the rig. Noble Drilling expects to upgrade the drilling systems and the crew accommodations in order to conform to the new regulations applicable in the North Sea. The company anticipates that the unit will be available for service in mid-2000. James C. Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Drilling, stated, "The opportunity to add an excellent harsh environment asset to our fleet at a competitive cost is consistent with our stated strategy of creating Economic Value Added for our shareholders. We appreciate the opportunity to work with such an outstanding group as Lime Rock Partners." John Reynolds, Managing Director of Lime Rock Partners, stated, "We are extremely pleased to have an opportunity to partner alongside Noble Drilling on this purchase. We hold the company and its management in extremely high regard."

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