Noble's 2Q07 Earnings up 66%

Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) reported second quarter 2007 earnings of $290 million or $2.16 per diluted share versus $180 million or $1.30 for the second quarter of last year. Per-share earnings were up 66 percent from the second quarter of 2006 and up 16 percent from the $1.86 per share reported for the first quarter of 2007.

Results for the second quarter of 2007 include after-tax charges of $.08 per share related to the anticipated sale of the Company's downhole rotary steerable tool business, retirement of a senior executive, and costs associated with the ongoing independent investigation of the Company's Nigerian operations.

Contract drilling services revenues for the 2007 second quarter were $658 million, up 41 percent from the year-earlier quarter. Cash operating margins exceeded 67 percent, generating $362 million in net cash provided by operating activities.

The Company invested $342 million in capital projects during the quarter and repurchased 188,000 ordinary shares at a total investment of $16 million. Debt as a percentage of total capitalization remained flat at approximately 18 percent at June 30, 2007.

"Strategic placement of the Company's assets has driven the continued increases in dayrates and, when coupled with superb execution by our employees, has yielded record operating margins, earnings and shareholder returns," said Mark A. Jackson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Earnings for the first six months of 2007 totaled $4.01 per diluted share compared with $2.35 in the same period last year. Contract drilling services revenues were $1.2 billion and earnings were $540 million in the first half of 2007, up 41 percent and 66 percent, respectively, from the year-earlier period.

Operations Review

All of the Company's premium jackups are located in major international markets. In Mexico, Noble received one-year contracts on three jackups currently operating for PEMEX: the Noble Bill Jennings (390-foot water depth) at a dayrate of $186,000; the Noble Lewis Dugger (300') at a dayrate of $171,000; and the Noble Tom Jobe (250') at a dayrate of $150,000. In the North Sea, the Noble Piet van Ede (250') and Noble Ronald Hoope (250') have been contracted for six months through mid-2008, each at a dayrate of $205,000. In the Middle East, the Noble Mark Burns (300') and the Noble Chuck Syring (250') received two-year commitments at strong market rates. The Company has commitments for substantially all available days for our jackups in 2007, and approximately 65 percent are now committed for 2008.

In the deepwater, the Company has received a Letter of Award from PEMEX for the Noble Max Smith to pursue exploration and development offshore Mexico under a three-year contract at a dayrate of $484,000 commencing in the fourth quarter of 2008. In Brazil, the Company secured a seven-month contract with Chevron for the Noble Leo Segerius at a dayrate of $525,000 commencing in the third quarter of 2008.

The Noble Clyde Boudreaux went to work for Shell on June 9, increasing to six the number of deepwater semisubmersibles operated in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. One of these semisubmersibles, the Noble Paul Romano, has entered the shipyard for a planned NC-5(SM) mooring system upgrade. This upgrade, the second of four planned upgrades on our deepwater fleet, is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

The Company budgeted 602 unpaid shipyard days in 2007 for major upgrades, repairs and inspections of Noble's existing fleet, comprising 21 separate projects. The majority of these budgeted days, 410, are expected to occur during the second half of 2007 and comprise 13 separate projects.