Noble Comments on Market Activity
Management commented that the Company's operations continue to perform consistent with its previously disclosed business plans and objectives. Extensions under existing contracts and bid requests for services indicate continued solid drilling activity levels, the pace of drilling activity in the regions where the company operates remains strong, and crude oil and natural gas prices remain at relatively high levels.
James C. Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "The positive fundamentals for the offshore drilling sector remain intact. There have been recent reports of weakness in Gulf of Mexico jackup dayrates, however, at this juncture, the market for drilling services remains quite firm."
As reported in its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2000, Noble repurchased 1,414,000 shares of its common stock in 2000, pursuant to its previously disclosed repurchase program authorized by the Board of Directors. To date in the second quarter of 2001, the Company has repurchased 300,000 shares of common stock at a total cost of $12,669,340.
Day commented, "The recent statements by members of OPEC that it does not plan to increase production will at this time help oil prices remain in a range which will continue to encourage exploration and production efforts." The Company reported that, in the Middle East region, two jackup units, the Noble Kenneth Delaney and the Noble George McLeod, commenced their one-year contracts with the National Drilling Company of Abu Dhabi on May 21 and June 1, 2001, respectively. In Qatar, the Noble Crosco Panon commenced its contract with Elf Petroleum Qatar on June 1, 2001 and the Noble Chuck Syring is scheduled to commence its one-year contract with Maersk Oil Qatar AS on or about June 6, 2001.
Noble Drilling 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 49 offshore drilling units located in key markets
worldwide. The Company's fleet of floating deepwater units consists of nine semisubmersibles and three dynamically positioned drillships, seven of which are designed to operate in water depths greater than 5,000 feet. The Company's premium fleet of 34 independent leg, cantilever jackup rigs includes 21 units that operate in water depths of 300 feet and greater, four of which operate in water depths of 360 feet and greater, and 11 units that operate in water depths of 250 feet. In addition, the Company's fleet includes three submersible units. Nine of the Company's units are capable of operating in harsh environments. Nearly 60 percent of the fleet is currently deployed in international markets, principally including the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa, the Middle East and India. The Company also provides labor contract
drilling services, well site and project management services, and engineering services. The Company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NE".