Noble Drilling Corporation has negotiated a resolution to the dispute with Mariner Energy, Inc. regarding the use by Mariner of Noble's newly converted semisubmersible, Noble Homer Ferrington. As announced on January 10, 2000, Noble had previously filed suit against Mariner and Samedan Oil Corporation for breach of contract regarding the use of the rig.
As part of the settlement, Mariner and Noble have executed agreements covering use of Noble Homer Ferrington at variable dayrates for 660 days during a five-year period. Noble will also receive working interests in seven of Mariner's deepwater exploration prospects. Mariner will pay Noble's share of the drilling costs during the initial test well on each of those prospects.
Noble Homer Ferrington, which is rated to drill in 6,000 ft. water depths, is currently undergoing final commissioning procedures in Sabine Pass, Texas and is expected to be ready for its initial drilling operations by the end of the first quarter. Once completed, Noble Homer Ferrington will
represent the sixth deepwater semisubmersible successfully delivered by Noble in the past 15 months.