Noble Corp. says structural defects not at fault in jackup tilt

Investigators have ruled out structural defects as a cause in the listing of the newbuild Noble Regina Allen jackup last month, Noble Corp. officials said.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – Investigators have ruled out structural defects as a cause in the listing of the newbuild Noble Regina Allen jackup last month, Noble Corp. officials said today.

The December 3, 2012 incident sent 89 Jurong Shipyard workers to hospital for treatment of minor injuries. About 700 people were onboard the rig when it tilted during a jacking system test.

“By January 16, the yard had leveled the hull in a safe and controlled manner and the rig is now securely berthed at the Jurong yard,” Noble Corp. chairman and CEO David Williams told analysts in a conference call to discuss the driller’s 4Q 2012 earnings.

“Based on investigation conducted by the shipyard and the vessel designer, I can report that the legs, jacking system and hull suffered no structural damage,” Williams said.

Investigators have ruled out structural or component defects and are concentrating on the jacking software and electrical components “relating to the jacking system and the brake holding capacity” as a possible cause of the accident, he said.

Noble now expects to take delivery of the rig in 3Q 2013.

TheNoble Regina Allen is one of six F&G JU-3000N newbuild rigs to be delivered to Noble Corp. by Juron Shipyard in 2013 and 2014. Noble has received a letter of intent from Gaz de France to contract the rig for 18 months to support a drilling program in the Dutch sector of the North Sea.

The company does not expect the incident to affect the Gaz de France contract, said Noble Corp. senior VP of marketing and contracts Roger Hunt.

“We continue to see strong interest in the superior capabilities offered with these designs and we do not currently anticipate delays on any of the five remaining units under construction,” Hunt said.

01/24/2013

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