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Press release from PR Newswire

Noble Corporation Exercises Options to Construct Two Additional High Specification Jackups

Monday, March 28, 2011

Noble Corporation Exercises Options to Construct Two Additional High Specification Jackups08:45 EDT Monday, March 28, 2011- Total delivered costs of approximately $235 million per rig - Increases number of JU3000N high specification jackups under construction to four - Two options remain until January 1, 2012ZUG, Switzerland, March 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) today announced that the Company has exercised two of its four options with Sembcorp Marine's subsidiary Jurong Shipyard for the construction of additional high-specification heavy duty, harsh environment JU3000N jackup drilling rigs.  This order will bring to four the total number of new jackup rigs the Company will have under construction.Total delivered costs are estimated at approximately $235 million per rig, including project management, spares, and start-up costs, but excluding capitalized interest.  Payment terms are consistent with the order of the two rigs placed in December 2010:  20 percent of the construction price due at contract signing, 20 percent due at steel cutting, and the remainder due at rig delivery.  Unit deliveries from the shipyard are expected in the third quarter of 2013 and first quarter of 2014.  The Company still has options for up to two additional units which must be exercised by January 1, 2012.  As previously disclosed, the option units are priced based on the original unit price, plus a potential escalation factor, with future deliveries scheduled in six-month increments beginning in late 2014.The Friede & Goldman JU3000N design is an enhanced evolution of the JU2000E design and represents the latest generation of high specification jackup drilling rig with greater capacities and capabilities than most existing units. The rigs, which are approximately 231 feet in length and 270 feet in breadth, will have the capability to operate in water depths up to 400 feet and drill to depths of 30,000 feet.  The rigs will each have a seventy-five foot cantilever, 2.5 million pounds of hook load capacity, a high capacity mud circulating system, and a 15,000 psi blow out preventer system.  The units are capable of off-line pipe handling and offer accommodations for up to 150 people. "Noble's fleet evolution is well underway as we focus on adding rigs with superior technology, equipment, and capabilities," said David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Noble Corporation.  "With the addition of two more JU3000N units, Noble will have four out of the eleven jackups in existence or under construction with hoisting capacities of 2.5 million pounds.  We expect ultra-premium units such as these to be in high demand and look forward to serving our future customers' growing needs in this key market segment."About NobleNoble is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. Noble performs, through its subsidiaries, contract drilling services with a fleet of 76 offshore drilling units (including seven ultra-deepwater rigs and four jackup drilling rigs currently under construction), located worldwide, including in the Middle East, India, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa and Asian Pacific. Noble also owns and operates a dynamically positioned floating production, storage, offloading vessel.  Noble's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NE". Additional information on Noble Corporation is available via the worldwide web at http://www.noblecorp.com.Statements regarding newbuild costs, delivery dates, performance capabilities and specifications, payment terms, demand, and strategic intent, as well as any other statements that are not historical facts in this release, are forward-looking statements that involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These include but are not limited to actions by third parties, corporate approvals, negotiation of and agreement on a final construction contract, governmental actions, litigation risks, operating hazards and delays, risks associated with construction outside of the U.S., factors affecting the level of activity in the oil and gas industry, supply and demand of drilling rigs, factors affecting dayrates and the duration of contracts, factors that affect time in the shipyard,  weather conditions, the future prices of oil and gas and other factors detailed in the Company's most recent Form 10-K, Form 10-Q's and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated.SOURCE Noble CorporationFor further information: Investors, Lee M. Ahlstrom, Vice President, Investor Relations and Planning, +1-281-276-6440, or Media, John S. Breed, Director, Corporate Communications, +1-281-276-6729, both of Noble Drilling Services Inc.