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Noble shuffles deepwater rigs off Israel, Cyprus

Noble Energy Inc., Houston, has revised drilling plans for the three deepwater rigs it has under contract in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Ensco 5006 semisubmersible, formerly the Pride North America, which has experienced multiple subsea equipment issues, will move off the Leviathan-3 well to have repairs performed to its riser system. On completion of repairs, the rig will drill the Dolphin prospect on the Hanna license off Israel.

The Transocean Sedco Express, currently at Tamar, is preparing to move to conclude drilling Leviathan-3. Then it will drill as many as two exploratory prospects before returning to Tamar to finish development drilling and perform completions.

The changes will not affect the timing of Tamar development, which remains on schedule for commissioning in late 2012 as drilling by the Sedco Express has gone extremely well, Noble said.

The Noble Corp. Homer Ferrington semisubmersible has drilled two development wells at Noa gas field. Drilling was completed 2 weeks ahead of schedule and far under budget. Noa completion operations are planned to start in the first half of 2012.

The company has moved the Ferrington to Block 12 off Cyprus where it is drilling the Cyprus A prospect. Then the rig will return to Israel.

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