ExxonMobil, Noble Corp. in Guyana Drillship Pact

OE Staff
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The U.S. oil major ExxonMobil has signed a framework agreement with offshore drilling contractor Noble Corporation to extend the contracts for the three drillships currently operating for Exxon in Guyana, and potentially add more work and more rigs.

Noble has described the deal as "a unique commercial enabling agreement [CEA] for drilling services in the Guyana-Suriname Basin."

The ultra-deepwater drillships Noble Bob Douglas, Noble Tom Madden and Noble Don Taylor, which are currently drilling ExxonMobil offshore Guyana, are included in the framework agreement, and other drilling rigs may be added to the agreement.

The Noble Bob Douglas is located on the Liza Phase I field development project, which started production in December 2019, making Guyana an oil-producing nation.

The other two drillships, the Noble Tom Madden and Noble Don Taylor are assigned to exploration drilling in the region.

Concurrent with the signing of the agreement, ExxonMobil has awarded 3.5 years in total to be added at the conclusion of each rigs' current contract commitments, as follows:


Est. Date of 




Initial Term 



Under CEA


Under CEA

Noble Tom Madden

December 2020


3 years

Noble Bob Douglas

March 2021


0.5 years

Noble Don Taylor


November 2020



Following the dates listed in the second column of the table above, day rates earned by each rig will be updated at least twice per year to the prevailing market rate, subject to a scale-based discount and performance bonus that appropriately aligns the interests of Noble and ExxonMobil, Noble said.

According to Noble Energy, the agreement provides for the allocation of six additional years dependent on future development decisions and government approvals, as well as the potential for the incremental contract term, or rigs as required.

Julie J. Robertson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Corporation plc, stated, "The Guyana-Suriname basin stands as one of the world's premier offshore exploration and development opportunities. Since establishing an operating presence offshore Guyana in March 2018 with the Noble Bob Douglas, we have continued to expand our footprint in the region."

"The commercial enabling agreement with ExxonMobil takes our regional position a step further, as we benefit from multi-year contract visibility and utilization allocated across three of our premium drillships. 

She said: "This attractive commercial model secures current market pricing dynamics on six-month intervals and important operational economies of scale, and, importantly, the agreement can cover additional Noble drilling rigs." 

The Noble Bob Douglas, Noble Tom Madden and Noble Don Taylor are each Gusto P-10000 design ultra-deepwater drillships capable of operating in water depths of up to 12,000 feet.

Categories: South America Rigs Drilling Drillship Guyana

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