Noble wins $655m Statoil contract in N Sea

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Noble Corp. has won a $655m drilling contract with Statoil for a new-build jackup for use in the UK sector of the North Sea. The initial contract is for four years and is anticipated to commence during the third quarter of 2016.

The ultra-high specification jackup is an enhanced version of  Statoil's "Cat J" specifications and will be designed to operate in water depths of up to 150 meters in harsh environment conditions, with a maximum total drilling depth capacity of 10,000 meters.

The award was made by Statoil as the operator of the Mariner project, which is located on the East Shetland Platform, about 150km east of the Shetland Isles, said ZUG, Switzerlandd-based Noble.

Statoil's partners in the Mariner project are JX Nippon Exploration and Production (U.K.) Ltd and Cairn Energy PLC. The rig will be equipped for operations in harsh environments and capable of deploying either a surface or subsea blowout preventer when drilling wells in these challenging environments.

Noble is in the final stages of negotiating a contract for the construction of the new jackup and expects delivered costs to be approximately $690 million, including project management, spares and start-up costs, but excluding capitalized interest.

"We believe that the fundamentals of the high-specification jackup market segment will continue to be strong in the decade ahead," said David W. Williams, chairman, president and CEO of Noble.

"This unit is designed to meet some of the industry's most stringent operating requirements and supports Noble's ongoing commitment to increasing the technological and operational capabilities of our fleet."

The rig will be based on the Gusto MSC CJ-70-150 design, with enhancements that include a number of features that are designed to further improve the rig's operating capability.

The rig was designed for operations over a very large platform or in a subsea configuration in water depths of up to 150 meters in the Norwegian sector.