Noble Corporation Exercises Option to Acquire Jackup Unit

Noble Corporation has exercised its option to purchase the premium jackup drilling unit, the Maersk Viking, from a subsidiary of A.P. Moeller for an exercise price of $32.9 million. As previously announced, in June of 2003 Noble paid an option fee of $15.0 million to the seller for the right to acquire the unit. Noble's aggregate purchase price for the MODEC 300C, independent leg, cantilever jackup is therefore $47.9 million. The Maersk Viking is currently in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates being assimilated into our Middle East fleet which is now comprised of 12 units. The unit is scheduled to commence an 880-day contract in Qatar in mid September 2004 after an upgrade program. The unit has been renamed the Noble Cees van Diemen.

James C. Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Corporation, said, "We are pleased to be able to exercise the option to purchase this unit, which will be an important contributor to our Middle East operations."