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November 22, 2005

Noble gets commitment for semisubmersible hull

Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE ) says that its Bingo 9000 Rig 3 semisubmersible hull has received a commitment for a four-year contract from Shell Exploration & Production Company.

The unit is one of two ultra-deepwater Bingo 9000 semisubmersible hulls that Noble purchased in March 2002 from Ocean Rig ASA.

The unit is currently located in Dalian, China, where Noble Company has maintained it since its purchase in 2002.

The rig, which will be renamed the Noble Danny Adkins, will be completed as a dynamically positioned unit designed to operate in water depths up to 12,000 feet and drill to total depth of 35,000 feet, with living accommodations for 200 persons.

The unit's operational design will follow that of the Noble EVA-4000(TM) format.

The commitment includes the completion of negotiations for a definitive drilling contract by the parties by February 9, 2006, unless extended by the mutual agreement of the parties, with a primary term of four years and with Shell having an option or options for the unit upon expiration of the initial four-year term upon mutually agreeable terms and conditions (including dayrate).

Noble estimates the drilling contract value over the four- year primary term at between approximately $589 million and $594 million (exclusive of any mobilization costs agreed by Shell to be borne by it), based on assumed operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and depending on the final contract equipment configuration.

Noble estimates that the construction time to complete the unit will be 32 to 36 months from execution of a shipyard construction contract. It says it has not made a final determination on the location of construction and outfitting of the unit.