Noble Interceptor rig; Source: Noble Corporation

Noble-Diamond Offshore fusing into ‘perfect fit’: US drilling giants merging to create 41-strong rig fleet

Texas-headquartered offshore drilling contractor Noble Corporation has taken steps to bring Diamond Offshore, a compatriot rig owner, into its fold, which will give birth to a U.S.-based offshore drilling heavyweight with a fleet of 41 rigs and a combined backlog of $6.5 billion.

Noble Interceptor rig; Source: Noble Corporation

The rig owner duo has sealed a definitive merger deal under which Noble will acquire Diamond in a stock plus cash transaction, enabling the latter’s shareholders to receive 0.2316 shares of the former, alongside a cash consideration of $5.65 per share for each share of Diamond stock.

This represents an 11.4% premium to closing stock prices on June 7, 2024. Once the merger has been completed, Diamond shareholders will own approximately 14.5% of Noble’s outstanding shares. Following the acquisition, Noble will own and operate a fleet of 41 rigs, encompassing 28 floaters and 13 jack-ups, with a combined backlog of approximately $6.5 billion.

Robert Eifler, Noble’s President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “This acquisition enables Noble to continue our journey of delivering superior innovation and value to a broad range of the leading offshore operators across the world. Our position will be strengthened with the addition of four 7th generation drillships and one of the most high-spec harsh environment semisubmersible rigs in the world.

“Additionally, Diamond’s five conventional deepwater and midwater rigs have averaged above 85% utilization over the last 3 years and currently have strong forward contract coverage. Supported by Diamond’s $2.1 billion of backlog and $100 million of anticipated cost synergies, we expect the transaction to be immediately accretive to our free cash flow per share and contribute to accelerated growth in our return of capital to shareholders.”

While explaining the rationale behind the merger, Noble highlighted that the acquisition would enable its 14 working and 15 total dual BOP seventh-generation drillships to comprise “the leading tier one drillship fleet in the industry.”

The addition of the Ocean GreatWhite semi-submersible rig to its fleet is said to provide the firm with a high-spec floater capable of operating in harsh environments. In addition, the remaining five semi-submersibles are anticipated to contribute meaningful contracted cash flow.

Bernie Wolford, Diamond’s President and Chief Executive Officer, remarked: “This combination is an ideal outcome that provides Diamond shareholders both immediate and long-term upside potential as part of a more fully scaled platform that can deliver customer and shareholder value on a through-cycle basis, more visibly and accessibly, while gaining access to Noble’s robust dividend program. 

“Noble’s operational strength, service posture and proven integration capabilities make this a natural match for Diamond. I would like to thank the entire Diamond team for delivering terrific results for our customers and shareholders. Your daily commitment to our uncompromising standards will be a perfect fit within Noble.”

According to Noble’s plans, the cash portion of the acquisition will be funded through new debt financing, which the firm has secured through a $600 million committed bridge financing facility. The company’s board of directors will be expanded to include one member from the Diamond board at the closing of the acquisition.

While both players’ boards of directors have unanimously greenlighted the merger, the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals and the approval of Diamond shareholders. This merger is anticipated to be wrapped up by the first quarter of 2025.

Noble has secured multiple new jobs and expanded existing scopes of work over the past few months, including its prolonged assignment with Murphy Oil in the Gulf of Mexico, a recent deal with Harbour, which came after the offshore drilling player won a contract in Spain for plug and abandonment (P&A) activities, following multimillion-dollar assignments in Q1 2024 for its rig fleet.

Diamond Offshore has also won more work for its rig fleet and secured the marketing rights for three seventh-generation drillships to market the rigs in Brazil, Latin America, West Africa, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In addition, the U.S. player agreed to market another rig in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The announcement of Noble’s acquisition of Diamond Offshore comes nearly two years after the firm completed its business combination with Maersk Drilling in October 2022.



𝐃𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐛 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐮𝐝𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐞? 𝐋𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐧𝐨 𝐟𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐎𝐟𝐟𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐄𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲! 𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐬 𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐢𝐥 & 𝐠𝐚𝐬, 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞, 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐝, 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐞, 𝐡𝐲𝐝𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐧, 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐬𝐞𝐚, 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲, 𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐞𝐥𝐬, 𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐚 𝐝𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐬.

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