Ensco, Noble Pick Up Rig Contracts with Mexico's Pemex

MEXICO CITY (Dow Jones Newswires), November 19, 2008

U.S. drillers Ensco International and Noble Corp. have won $456 million in contracts to rent offshore drilling rigs to Mexico's state oil company, said Petroleos Mexicanos on Tuesday.

Ensco won two three-year contracts worth a total of $367 million. Both of Ensco's offshore rigs will start work next year, one in February and one in April.

Noble won a 433-day rig-rental contract worth $89 million that is set to start on Feb. 15. A fourth rig tender attracted no qualified bidders, said Pemex.

Pemex will deploy the rigs at the giant Cantarell oil field and other offshore fields in the Campeche Sound, which produces the bulk of Mexico's 2.8 million barrels a day of production.

Output at Cantarell is falling at a rate of around 30% a year, dragging down the country's total production, which is falling at a rate of 10% a year.

Drillers are waiting for Pemex to launch another tender for four drilling rigs and a deepwater drillship, expected to come out before the end of this year. Pemex has ramped up spending in recent years in an effort to expand its drilling fleet and halt a steady decline in oil production that began in 2004.

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