Noble to Build New Ultra-Deepwater Drillship
Noble Corporation's wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary, Noble Drilling Holding LLC, has signed contracts for the construction of a new, dynamically positioned, ultra-deepwater, harsh environment Globetrotter class drillship with South Korea's STX Heavy Industries Co., LTD ("STX") and Dutch-based design and construction firm Huisman Equipment B.V.
The drillship will be built on a fixed-price basis in two phases. Following construction of the hull and installation of the propulsion system by STX at their new state-of-the-art facility in Dalian, China, the to-be-named drillship will sail under its own power to the Netherlands where Huisman will complete the installation and commissioning of the topside equipment. The delivered cost of the drillship, excluding capitalized interest, is estimated to be $585 million, with delivery scheduled for the second half of 2011. Additionally, Noble has secured priced options for three additional Globetrotter drillships exercisable by Noble over the next 90, 120 and 180 days, respectively, from the date of contract execution.
Noble Corporation's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, David W. Williams, said, "We are excited to announce the continuation of our newbuild program with the addition of this new ultra-deepwater Globetrotter class drillship. The Globetrotter is an innovative design capable of working in up to 10,000 feet of water in benign and hostile environments around the world. At a purchase price of under $600 million, we expect to present our shareholders with superior returns while at the same time offering an uncompromising product to our customers. We are confident we will put this unit under contract before year-end, enabling us to take advantage of our very competitive option pricing for future Globetrotter projects."
The drillship will measure 620 feet long and 105 feet wide and will utilize Huisman's multi-purpose tower design with a drilling side and a pipe assembly side. The Globetrotter will be capable of drilling to a vertical depth of 40,000 feet and will feature DP-3 station-keeping ability, 18,000 tons of variable deck load, and quarters for 180 personnel.
"This project is confirmation of our view of the continuing strength of the current cycle. Deepwater dynamics remain robust and we see unsatisfied demand for ultra-deepwater rigs extending out into 2012. The Globetrotter is a welcome addition as one of Noble's next generation, cost efficient and innovative units that we will put to work to help meet the world's energy demands," Williams said.
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