March 21, 2002
Noble drilling to buy unfinished Bingos from Ocean Rig
Noble Drilling Corporation has contracted with subsidiaries of Ocean Rig ASA for the purchase of the Bingo 9000 Rig 3 and Bingo 9000 Rig 4 for an aggregate purchase price of $45 million. The two unfinished "baredecks" are currently stacked in China.
Noble Drilling chairman and CEO James C. Day, said, "This acquisition is consistent with our stated strategy of continued focus on the deepwater market as part of our overall portfolio of floating deepwater units and premium jackups. There will continue to be acquisition opportunities that will enhance shareholder value for companies which have maintained financial discipline and followed strict investment criteria."
Consummation of the deal is subject to Noble's inspection of the two baredecks, which has been satisfactorily completed, and closing conditions customary for this type of transaction. The sellers will have an option to buy the two baredecks back within one year at a purchase price of $56 million. Noble expects to close the purchase of the two baredecks this month.
With the acquisition of the two Bingos and the recently announced pending acquisition of the Transocean 96 and Transocean 97,Noble Drilling's fleet will stand at 53 offshore drilling units located in key markets worldwide. Its fleet of floating deepwater units will then consist of 13 semisubmersibles and three dynamically positioned drillships, seven designed to operate in water depths greater than 5,000 feet.
Noble Drilling's premium fleet of 34 independent leg, cantilever jackup rigs includes 21 units that operate in water depths of 300 feet and greater, four of which operate in water depths of 360 feet and greater, and 11 units that operate in water depths up to 250 feet. In addition, the fleet includes three submersible units. Nine of Noble Drilling's units are capable of operating in harsh environments. Over 60 percent of the fleet is currently deployed in international markets, principally including the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa, the Middle East, India and Mexico. The Company also provides labor contract drilling services, well site and project management services, and engineering services.