Noble retires ex-Shell drillship

February 4, 2016

Noble Corp. will retire two offshore drilling units, jackup Noble Charles Copeland and former Shell Arctic drillship, Noble Discoverer, the company announced this week. The retirements bring Noble’s full fleet to 30 units.

The Noble Discoverer contract was terminated by Shell in December 2015 following the supermajor’s announcement that it would abandon its Arctic exploration plans offshore Alaska. At the time, Noble said it would stack the drillship in Singapore. Noble reported in its Q4/full year 2015 results on Wednesday that the company received a net gain of US$140 million after-tax following the termination.

The Noble Discoverer drillship was rated for water depths of 2500ft and drilling depths of 20,000ft. According to Infield Rigs data, the Noble Discoverer was built in 1976 in Japan at Imari Shipyard & Works. It was later upgraded in 2007.

The Noble Charles Copeland, a LeTourneau 82-SD-C model jackup, was built in 1979 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, according to Infield Rigs. The jackup was rated for a maximum water depth of 280ft and a maximum drill depth of 20,000ft.

Noble also reported on Wednesday a net loss of $152 million on revenues of $858 million. Contract drilling services revenues in Q4 were $837 million, or $693 million after excluding approximately $145 million relating to the contract termination on the Noble Discoverer.

Noble said that while fleet utilization improved in Q4 to 83% compared to 82% in the previous quarter, average daily revenues declined 6% to $304,400 in Q4 compared to $325,500 in the Q3. Noble attributed the decline to unfavorable contractual dayrate changes across the fleet and an increase in fleet downtime, primarily on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We face a challenging offshore fundamental outlook in 2016," said David Williams, chairman, president and CEO, Noble. "But, Noble has successfully adapted to difficult cycles over its 95-year history and 2016 will be no different.

"Our focus in 2016 will continue to center around operating our fleet in a safe and efficient manner, while capitalizing on contract opportunities that develop across our regions of operation,” Williams continued. “We have already registered success in this area, with over 1800 days of contract time awarded to our jackup fleet from the beginning Q4 2015. Although we are focused on maintaining utilization across the fleet, we plan to manage periods of inactivity, especially as it pertains to our premium rigs, efficiently, with cost management in mind, and strategically, to allow each rig the benefit of a quick response to emerging opportunities." 

Image: Noble Discoverer

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Shell drops Noble Discoverer



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