SUGAR LAND, Texas, March 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Noble Corporation
(NYSE: NE) today announced that it has secured a Memorandum of Understanding
for contracts with a total revenue potential of approximately $4.0 billion
over 29 rig years on its five deepwater rigs currently operating offshore
Brazil for Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. -- PETROBRAS. Upon execution, these new
contracts could increase Noble's total backlog to more than $10 billion.
Potential revenue includes a one-year option on the Noble Paul Wolff and paid
shipyard time during upgrades on three drillships and assumes earning the full
amount of all performance bonuses. The contracts are subject to the approval
of Petrobras' Top Management.
The five rigs' contract terms and potential revenues are:
-- Noble Paul Wolff, a fourth generation 9,200' water depth, dynamically
positioned semisubmersible, with a five-year primary term beginning in
November 2009. Including the one-year option and an 18% performance
bonus, the total revenue potential is $1.08 billion;
-- Noble Roger Eason, a 7,200' water depth, dynamically positioned
drillship, with a six-year term beginning March 2010 with revenue
potential of $888 million including a 15% performance bonus;
-- Noble Leo Segerius, a 5,600' water depth, dynamically positioned
drillship, with a six-year term beginning in the second or third
quarter of 2009 with revenue potential of $769 million including a 15%
-- Noble Muravlenko, a 4,900' water depth, dynamically positioned
drillship, with a six-year term beginning March 2009 with revenue
potential of $744 million including a 15% performance bonus; and
-- Noble Therald Martin, a 3,900' water depth, conventionally moored
semisubmersible, with a five-year term beginning October 2010 with
revenue potential of $542 million including a 10% performance bonus.
David W. Williams, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, said,
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue to provide deep water
drilling capability to Petrobras for years to come. With the award of these
contracts, we will not only boost our overall fleet backlog to more than $10
billion, we will also be able to move forward with our planned upgrades on
each of our three drillships. These upgrades, which are designed to enhance
the reliability and operational performance of the rigs, are estimated to cost
approximately $175 million per ship and will take each rig out of service for
about 150 days. We are also pleased that Petrobras saw the value in our
upgrade plans and decided to support the program by paying $90,000 per day for
up to 150 days for each rig's scheduled shipyard stay."
"We expect to perform the upgrade work on the rigs sequentially and will
begin ordering the required long lead equipment once the contracts are
formalized. We believe these projects provide an impressive rate of return
for the shareholders while enhancing our ability to satisfy our customer's
present and future drilling requirements," Williams added.
In addition to the five rigs mentioned above, Noble's newbuild deepwater
semisubmersible, the Noble Dave Beard, is scheduled to commence its five-year
contract with Petrobras offshore Brazil in 2009.
Noble Corporation is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil
and gas industry. The Company performs contract drilling services with its
fleet of 62 mobile offshore drilling units located in key markets worldwide,
including the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Middle East, Mexico, the North Sea, Brazil,
West Africa and India. The fleet count includes five rigs under construction.
Additional information on Noble Corporation is available via the worldwide web
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" about the
business, financial performance and prospects of the Company. Statements about
the Company's or management's plans, intentions, expectations, beliefs,
estimates, predictions, or similar expressions for the future are
forward-looking statements. No assurance can be given that the outcomes of
these forward-looking statements will be realized, and actual results could
differ materially from those expressed as a result of various factors. A
discussion of these factors, including risks and uncertainties, is set forth
from time to time in the Company's filings with the U.S. Securities and
SOURCE Noble Corporation
/CONTACT: Investors, Lee M. Ahlstrom, Vice President - Investor Relations
and Planning, +1-281-276-6440, or Media, John S. Breed, Director of Corporate
Communications, +1-281-276-6729, both of Noble Drilling Services Inc.
/Web site: http://www.noblecorp.com /