Shelf Drilling buys five Noble rigs, gets two-year extension for one

Offshore drilling contractor Shelf Drilling has completed the acquisition of five jack-up rigs from Noble Corporation, sold as part of Noble’s efforts to remedy competition concerns related to its merger with Maersk Drilling. The new owner has already secured an extension for one of these rigs.

Both Shelf and Noble informed on Wednesday that the deal for the five jack-up rigs, worth $375 million, had been completed. The rigs included in the agreement are Noble Hans Deul, Noble Sam Hartley, Noble Sam Turner, Noble Houston Colbert, and Noble Lloyd Noble.

Shelf completed the acquisition after successfully securing $130 million of equity financing and $250 million of senior secured debt financing as well as a further contribution from the company of $70 million from cash on hand.

As part of the deal, all onshore and offshore related staff, support and infrastructure associated with these rigs are transferred to Shelf Drilling, while Noble will continue to operate the Noble Lloyd Noble under a bareboat charter with Shelf Drilling through the conclusion of that rig’s current drilling contract with Equinor which is expected to finish in the second quarter of 2023.

David Mullen, Shelf Drilling Chief Executive Officer, commented: “I am very pleased to announce the closing of this acquisition as it significantly enhances our asset quality and expands our geographical footprint into the North Sea at a very attractive price.”

Mullen added: “This unique transaction proves the differentiation of Shelf Drilling as we successfully completed a number of strategic actions against a challenging backdrop in getting this deal closed. This will unlock tremendous value for the company as the outlook for the sector continues to improve.

Noble Sam Turner is now owned by Shelf Drilling
Noble Sam Turner; Source: Noble Corp.

Shelf Drilling has also already secured a contract extension for one of these rigs. A two-year contract extension has been secured for the Noble Sam Turner jack-up rig in direct continuation of its current contract in Denmark by way of a priced option exercise by the customer. Noble’s fleet status report shows that the rig has been working for TotalEnergies since March 2021.

The contract value of the extension is approximately $68 million, and the expected availability of the rig is now March 2025. The rig will be renamed Shelf Drilling Winner upon completion of the official renaming process in early 2023.

The completion of the rig transaction with Shelf comes days after the business combination between Noble and Maersk was concluded.

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Robert Eifler, President and CEO of Noble said the cash proceeds from the sale will augment Noble’s already conservative balance sheet and further enhance the company’s capital flexibility.