Noble books more drilling contracts in Americas, North Sea

Feb. 23, 2024
Noble Corp’s marketed fleet was 75% contracted through 4Q 2023, company says.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – Noble Corp’s marketed fleet of 16 floating drilling rigs was 75% contracted through 4Q 2023, the company said in its latest results statement.

The reduction from 92% in the previous quarter was due to downtime between contracts.

However, recent contract awards mean that only three of the company’s floating rigs have substantial availability over the remainder of this year, the Noble Globetrotter I, Noble Globetrotter II, and Noble Developer.

High-end floater dayrates across the industry are in the mid-to-high $400,000s range for tier-1 drillships and low-to-mid $400,000s range for sixth generation vessels, the company noted, with a likelihood of further rate rises for high-spec rigs starting contracts in 2025.

As for Noble’s 13 marketed jackups, utilization should improve steadily from the 4Q figure of 61%, with Noble Regina Allen and Noble Resolute both set to start contracts this summer following shipyard stays.

The most recent awards, with a combined contract value of around $530 million, are as follows:

* Noble Discoverer, a 400-day contract with Petrobras offshore Colombia starting in early June, with an option to extend by 390 days.

* Noble Voyager, a one-well contract (plus one optional well) for Petronas off Suriname. The 130-day firm program started this month.

* Noble Valiant, a six-month contract extension with LLOG in the US Gulf of Mexico, set to start in July in direct continuation of the rig's current contract and at a rate of $470,000/d, excluding additional fees for provision of managed pressure drilling.

* Noble Gerry de Souza, a nine-month extension with TotalEnergies off Nigeria, extending the program out to November.

* Noble Intrepid, an option exercised by Harbour Energy for a well intervention program in the UK North Sea started last month, at a dayrate of $120,000.

* Noble Innovator, a one-well extension from bp with an estimated 90-day duration ($140,000/d), due to take effect in September.

* Noble Resolute, a 60-day extension from March 2025 for Petrogas in the Dutch North Sea.

The group’s overall backlog is currently $4.6 billion.