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|Noble Corporation Reports Third Quarter 2010 Earnings of $0.34 per Diluted Share|
ZUG, Switzerland, Oct 20, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) today reported third quarter 2010 earnings of $86 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, versus $426 million, or $1.63 per diluted share, for the third quarter of last year. Results for the third quarter 2010 reflect $14 million, or $0.05 cents per share, in transaction costs associated with the acquisition of FDR Holdings Limited ("Frontier") at the end of July 2010. Contract drilling services revenues for the third quarter of 2010 were $585 million versus $875 million in the third quarter of 2009. The Company generated $271 million in net cash provided by operating activities in the quarter.
"We are pleased to have closed the Frontier transaction during the quarter and commenced a new chapter in our relationship with Shell," said David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "However, the continuing and far-reaching effects of the ongoing operational disruption in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico negatively impacted Noble's third-quarter results. We recognize that the effects of U.S. policies related to offshore drilling will be felt into 2011 and beyond. Noble continues to make progress toward full compliance with the recently released regulatory changes, and we look forward to clearing the remainder of these hurdles and returning to work in the near term."
Noble invested $355 million in capital projects during the quarter and repurchased 4 million shares at an average cost per share of $32.67, bringing the total number of shares repurchased in 2010 to 6.1 million shares as of September 30, 2010. At the end of the third quarter 2010, the Company had approximately 6.8 million shares remaining on its existing repurchase authorization. Debt as a percentage of total capitalization increased to 27.4 percent at September 30, 2010 from approximately 9.4 percent at the end of the second quarter 2010 due to the issuance of $1.25 billion aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes in July 2010 to finance the purchase of Frontier and the assumption of approximately $690 million of fully consolidated Bully joint venture project financing debt.
At the end of the third quarter 2010, approximately 72 percent of the Company's available rig operating days were committed for the remainder of 2010 and approximately 49 percent were committed for 2011. The Company's total backlog at September 30, 2010 was approximately $14 billion.
In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the newbuild ultra-deepwater semisubmersible Noble Jim Day is currently undergoing final testing, customer acceptance and certification of the rig's blowout preventer (BOP) before commencing its contract with Marathon. The Noble Danny Adkins has received certification of its BOP and commenced operations during the quarter at full dayrate. Also, the Noble Amos Runner has received its BOP certification and the unit has recently been substituted for the Noble Lorris Bouzigard at that rig's same dayrate. The Noble Lorris Bouzigard has been stacked. The Company's remaining deepwater units in the Gulf are in the process of having their BOPs recertified.
In Mexico, the Noble Earl Frederickson received a contract extension through December 31, 2010 at a dayrate of $62,000 - $64,000 and the Noble Lewis Dugger received an extension of the current direct assignment which extends the contract to November 15, 2010 at a dayrate of $76,000 - $78,000.
In the North Sea, the Noble Julie Robertson received a contract extension through March 31, 2011 at $86,000 - $88,000 per day and a letter of intent for one year at $88,000 - $90,000 per day. The Noble Ronald Hoope contract has been extended until March 31, 2011 at the previously reported dayrate. The Noble George Sauvageau signed a one year contract with its current operator which will extend the rig through December 31, 2011.
In West Africa, the Noble Lloyd Noble received a letter of intent for one well that is expected to begin shortly. In the Middle East, the Noble Scott Marks and Noble Roger Lewis each received three year contracts in Saudi Arabia at dayrates of $236,000 - $238,000 and $131,000 - $133,000 respectively. These rates do not include lump sum payments for mobilization and capital upgrades.
Noble has initiated arbitration proceedings in connection with the Noble Homer Ferrington, currently located in the Mediterranean, with respect to an assignment of the drilling contract between operators. Payment of the dayrate is subject to the resolution of this dispute. The rig has been on standby since April 24, 2010 and continues to be on standby. Pending resolution of the dispute, the Company has not recorded any revenue related to the assignment.
"Looking ahead, while there is little doubt we will be forced to endure continued challenges in the U.S. Gulf as a result of regulatory uncertainty, we remain optimistic about the long-term strength of the Company and the industry," said Williams. "As clarity increases in the months ahead and we return to work, the Company's backlog and operating efficiency position us to resume our historical value creation and prepare us for further growth opportunities."
Noble is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. Noble performs, through its subsidiaries, contract drilling services with a fleet of 69 offshore drilling units (including five drilling rigs currently under construction) located worldwide, including in the Middle East, India, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa and Asian Pacific. Noble also owns and operates a dynamically positioned floating production, storage, offloading vessel. Noble's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NE". Additional information on Noble Corporation is available via the worldwide web at http://www.noblecorp.com.
Statements regarding contract backlog, earnings, costs, revenue, rig demand, fleet condition or performance, shareholder value, contract commitments, dayrates, contract commencements, contract extensions or renewals, letters of intent or award, industry fundamentals, customer relationships, future performance, growth opportunities, market outlook, as well as any other statements that are not historical facts in this release, are forward-looking statements that involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These include but are not limited to operating hazards and delays, risks associated with operations outside of the U.S., actions by regulatory authorities, customers and other third parties, legislation and regulations affecting drilling operations, compliance with regulatory requirements, costs and difficulties relating to the integration of acquired businesses, factors affecting the level of activity in the oil and gas industry, supply and demand of drilling rigs, factors affecting the duration of contracts, the actual amount of downtime, factors that reduce applicable dayrates, violations of anti-corruption laws, hurricanes and other weather conditions, the future price of oil and gas and other factors detailed in the Company's most recent Form 10-K, Form 10-Q's and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated.
Noble has scheduled a conference call and webcast related to its third quarter 2010 results on Thursday, October 21, 2010, at 8:00 a.m. U.S. Central Daylight Time. Interested parties are invited to listen to the call by dialing from the U.S. 1-866-461-7129, or +1-706-679-3084 from outside the U.S., using access code: 38611734 or by asking for the Noble Corporation conference call. Interested parties may also listen over the Internet through a link posted in the Investor Relations section of the Company's Web site.
A replay of the conference call will be available on Thursday, October 21, 2010, beginning at 11:00 p.m. U.S. Central Daylight Time, through Wednesday, October 27, 2010, ending at 5:00 p.m. U.S. Central Daylight Time. The phone number for the conference call replay is 1-800-642-1687 from the U.S. or, for calls from outside of the U.S., +1-706-645-9291, using access code: 38611734.
The replay will also be available on the Company's Web site following the end of the live call. The conference call may include non-GAAP financial measures. Noble will post a reconciliation of any such measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures in the "Investor Relations" section of the Company's Web site under the heading "Regulation G Reconciliations."
SOURCE Noble Corporation