Noble Corp. expects the drillship Noble Globetrotter II to start exploration drilling next month in the Bulgarian sector of the Black Sea.
The vessel, which has been idle and warm stacked since late 2016, is said to have a unique design and capabilities that allow for transit through the Bosphorus Strait faster than other rigs.
In addition to the day rate from the new assignment in the Black Sea, the Noble Globetrotter II will continue to receive an idle day rate of $185,000 into late-2018 under an agreement with Shell.
At present, 13 of Noble’s 14 jackups are contracted, including seven with contracts extending into late-2018 or beyond.
Late last month the Noble Houston Colbert completed a program offshore Qatar and is currently idle while Noble assesses opportunities in and outside the Middle East.
The Noble Regina Allen completed an assignment in the North Sea in mid-July and has since relocated to a shipyard in Scotland where it is preparing for a two-year contract offshore eastern Canada, due to start in 4Q.
President and CEO David Williams said: “Despite the recent crude oil price volatility, our customers continue to evaluate offshore rig needs covering the remainder of 2017 and 2018.
“The number of jackup rigs under contract has risen steadily since the fourth quarter of 2016, while several contract awards in recent weeks provide evidence of intermediate-term support for the industry’s floating rig capacity.
“Some of the recent floating contract awards and others still pending are addressing new, emerging offshore opportunities, such as the Black Sea, Guyana, Suriname, Mexico and Egypt, driven in many cases by the confirmation of excellent hydrocarbon potential.”