Signal International has been selected to construct key components to be used in a drillship reliability upgrade program for Noble Corporation. This agreement covers the first of three Noble drillships scheduled for upgrades. Signal will fabricate the components at the Company's shipyards in Mississippi and Texas. It is anticipated that more that 1,000 employees will be working on this project, including approximately 800 in Texas and 200 in Mississippi. The project will commence in early 2009. Once completed, the components will be shipped to Brazil for installation. Signal's portion of the contract is valued at more than $50 million.
"We are delighted to have been chosen by Noble for this reliability upgrade program. Noble is a longstanding and highly valued customer," said Dick Marler, President and CEO of Signal. "Our team and our facilities are well-suited for this type of fabrication project work, which we believe will position us well to win the additional two drillship upgrade opportunities from Noble. If that occurs, the project’s total scope would exceed $150 million and extend into 2011."
The upgrade and modernization is designed to enhance the reliability and operational performance of the Noble's drillships, which are working under long-term contracts to Petrobras. The project will include equipping the Noble drillships with DP2 technology, along with new power management systems, generators and thrusters. This will be accomplished by the fabrication of a new stern section that will house all new generators, switchgear and thrusters. Noble also plans for its three drillships to receive new sponsons equipped with additional thrusters, a new accommodations block, and a new heliport. The stern and sponsons will be constructed in Signal's facility in Orange, Texas and the accommodations block and heliports will be built in Pascagoula, Mississippi at Signal's East Bank Yard.
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