Noble Corporation has entered into option agreements with a subsidiary of Schlumberger that would give Noble the right to acquire two jackup drilling units, the TRIDENT XVIII and TRIDENT XIX. The TRIDENT XVIII is a Marathon LeTourneau 116-C, independent leg, cantilever jackup. The TRIDENT XIX is a MODEC 300C, independent leg, cantilever jackup. Both units are currently operating offshore Iran. In accordance with licenses issued to Noble by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury, Noble's right to exercise its options and acquire the units will commence when the units have completed their current contracts and have mobilized to United Arab Emirates territorial waters, which is expected to occur in May 2003 for the TRIDENT XVIII and July 2003 for the TRIDENT XIX. Noble paid an aggregate of $24.9 million in cash for the options. If Noble exercises the options, Noble would pay an exercise price of an additional $58.1 million to acquire both units.
James C. Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "The acquisition of the options on the TRIDENT XVIII and TRIDENT XIX provides us with an opportunity to acquire two additional premium jackup assets in the Middle East. The acquisition of these two units, together with our acquisition of the TRIDENT III and DHABI II from Schlumberger announced in our news release dated December 12, 2002, would continue our strategy of opportunistic acquisitions of premium assets capable of working in promising geologic regions. If the options are exercised as permitted under our OFAC license, the two units would become part of our Middle East fleet which will be comprised of 11 units."