Third drillship on order from HHI

04 Mar 2011

A subsidiary of Noble Corporation has exercised an option with Hyundai Heavy Industries for the construction of an additional ultra-deepwater drillship, the third such ship to be ordered in 2011.

The option is subject to the parties executing a definitive construction contract, which is expected to occur within the next week. Noble’s floating drilling unit fleet will therefore be increased to 27, of which 15 are DP-equipped. The new ship, to be named at a later date, will be constructed on a fixed-price basis at HHI's shipyard in Ulsan, Korea, with an expected delivery from the shipyard in the second quarter of 2014. The delivered cost of the new drillship is expected to be $615 million and includes the turnkey construction contract, company furnished equipment, project management and spares.

As with the two previously announced drillships, this unit will be based on a Hyundai Gusto P10000 hull design and is designed for operations in waters of up to 12,000ft, although it may be outfitted for less depending on specific contract requirements. The unit will have DP3 station keeping abilities, the ability to handle two complete BOP systems, a heave compensated construction crane to facilitate deployment of subsea production equipment and accommodations for up to 210 personnel, in addition to a number of other operational enhancements.

Noble says that the construction contract “contains favourable payment terms that incentivise on-time delivery”. Noble has one remaining fixed-price option with HHI for an additional drillship; the expiration of this remaining option has been extended to August 31, 2011 for 2014 delivery.

"With the addition of another high specification drillship, Noble continues its strategy of adding rigs with the latest technology, equipment, and capabilities," said David W. Williams, chairman, president and CEO, Noble Corporation. "These HHI drillships, with their true 1,250-ton load path ratings and ability to handle two complete BOP stacks and multiple subsea Christmas trees, will set a new standard for ultra-deepwater operations. When combined with the two Bully-class rigs and two Globetrotter-class rigs currently under construction, as well as the recently delivered Noble Jim Day, Noble Danny Adkins, Noble Dave Beard, and Noble Clyde Boudreaux, Noble's ultra-deepwater fleet is becoming one of the finest in the industry."

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