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December 12, 2005

Noble in $685 million swoop on Smedvig

Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) announced today that it has entered a share purchase agreement with Peter T. Smedvig and members of his family and entities he controls to purchase (directly and indirectly) 21,095,600 Class A shares and 2,501,374 Class B shares of Smedvig ASA (OSE:SME/SMEB , NYSE:SMVa/SMVb ).

According to an Oslo Stock Exchange announcement by Smedvig ASA, following the acquisition, Noble Corporation will hold, directly and indirectly, 21,095,600 A shares and 2,501,374 B shares equaling approximately 39.24 % of the voting A shares and approximately 28.87 % of the issued shares in Smedvig ASA. Noble Corporation does not hold other rights to shares in Smedvig ASA.

The purchase price for the Class A shares is NOK 200 per share and for the Class B shares is NOK 150 per share.

The total purchase price for the Class A and Class B shares is NOK 4,594,326,100 (about $ 684,616,752).

The closing is scheduled for December 23, 2005, subject to any required regulatory matters.

Noble expects to pay the purchase price with available cash, funds available under the company's existing bank credit agreement, and/or funds generated from the public or private issuance of debt securities.

James C. Day, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Company, said, "The performance of the Smedvig team is widely recognized within our industry. This investment represents a unique opportunity for Smedvig's and Noble's management, operational and engineering teams to complement one another in key drilling markets. Smedvig's significant presence in Stavanger, Norway, and Singapore will leverage our collective global efforts in drilling operations and major new shipyard construction projects. We believe this affiliation will capitalize on the robust demand for safe and efficient drilling operations worldwide."

Noble Corporation is a leading provider of diversified services for the oil and gas industry. Contract drilling services are performed with the Company's premium fleet of 62 mobile offshore drilling units located in key markets worldwide. This fleet consists of 13 semisubmersibles, three dynamically positioned drillships, 43 jackups and three submersibles.

The fleet count includes two new F&G JU-2000E enhanced premium jackups, with scheduled delivery of the first unit in the third quarter of 2007 and the second unit in the first quarter of 2008. As previously announced, these units have been contracted.

Approximately 80 percent of the fleet is currently deployed in international markets, principally including the Middle East, Mexico, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa, India, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Smedvig, headquartered in Stavanger, Norway, offers drilling and well services in three main markets: mobile units, tender rigs and well services.

Smedvig«s fleet of mobile units consists of two modern semi-submersible rigs West Alpha and West Venture, the ultra-large jack-up rig West Epsilon and the ultra-deepwater drillship West Navigator.

Smedvig is the world«s leading operator of self-erecting tender rigs with a fleet of seven tender rigs and four semi-tenders plus one semi-tender rig under construction.