Noble orders two ultradeepwater drillships

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 20
-- Noble Corp. ordered two ultradeepwater drillships to be constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. at its shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea, with expected deliveries to Noble in the second and fourth quarters of 2013.

The new drillships, to be capable of drilling in 12,000 ft of water, are to be named later. Cost is estimated at $605 million each. The contract includes a fixed price option for up to two additional drillships, which must be declared by early May 2011 for delivery in 2014.

"We believe the fundamentals of the global ultradeepwater market will continue to be strong in the decade ahead," said David W. Williams, Noble chairman, president, and chief executive officer.

Each unit will have the ability to handle two complete blowout preventer systems, a construction crane to deploy subsea production equipment, and accommodations for up to 200 crew members.

On Jan. 17, Noble announced Royal Dutch Shell PLC signed a Letter of Intent for a 5½-year drilling contract for a newbuild ultradeepwater drillship expected to commence in the second half of 2013.

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