Noble buys new jack-up rig, wins first contract

Offshore driller Noble Corporation has bought a new Gusto MSC CJ46 design jack-up rig from Singapore’s rig builder PaxOcean Group. The driller has already secured an initial contract for the newbuild rig. 

Gusto MSC CJ46 jack-up design; Source: Gusto MSC

The newbuild jack-up, to be named the Noble Johnny Whitstine, was built at the PaxOcean Graha shipyard in Batam, Indonesia.

The rig design for moderate environments allows for operations in water depths of up to 375 feet and well depths of 30,000 feet.

Noble said on Friday that it paid $33.75 million of the $93.75 million purchase price in cash, with the remainder of the purchase price, or $60 million seller-financed at a 4.25% interest rate paid in cash and 1.25% paid in kind over the term of the financing.

The company used existing cash balances for the initial payment, and the secured seller-financed amount would be repaid in four years.

Noble also has an option for the purchase of a second newbuild CJ46 jack-up from PaxOcean.

Per Noble, a modern drilling control system and versatile 70 ft. x 40 ft. envelope cantilever skidding system equipped with two blow out preventers contribute to the rig’s enhanced drilling capabilities.

In connection with the purchase, Noble entered into a new drilling contract in the Middle East region with a three-year primary term, plus a one-year option, with an expected start in early 2019.

The company didn’t say who the client was nor did it disclose the value of the contract.

Julie J. Robertson, chairman, president, and CEO of Noble Corporation, said: “With our premium jack-up rig fleet fully committed through late-2018, and further evidence of rising jack-up demand into 2019, we remain focused on growth opportunities that reinforce our competitive position.

“This attractive acquisition of a proven and highly versatile jack-up design will provide us with a near-term contract commitment and future opportunities where growing customer demand is evident.”

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