R&B Falcon has been awarded three one-well drilling contracts, each with a separate operator, utilizing the fourth-generation semisubmersible, Jack Bates. The wells will be drilled sequentially in the U.K. section of the North Atlantic Ocean west of Shetland with commencement expected early in the second quarter of 2000. Total contract value for the estimated seven-month program is approximately $29.7 million. Paul B. Loyd, Jr., CEO of R&B Falcon, stated, "We are quite pleased to have the Jack Bates return to service, and we feel this fixture illustrates clearly that deepwater, harsh environment drilling units can still achieve premium rates when they are utilized at or near their design capability."