Noble Drilling Reports Results

Friday, February 02, 2001
Noble Drilling Corporation's reported net income increased 143 percent for the fourth quarter of 2000 to $51.9 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, on operating revenues of $241.2 million, compared to net income, excluding the effects of non-recurring items, of $21.4 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, on operating revenues of $173.5 million for the fourth quarter of 1999.

The quarterly results for 1999 included a restructuring charge of $7.5 million ($4.9 net of tax) related to early retirement packages offered to a number of employees and the relocation of the Company's Gulf Coast Marine division office in Lafayette, Louisiana to the centralized office in Sugar Land. Net income for the year ended December 31, 2000 increased 65 percent to $165.6 million, or $1.22 per diluted share, on operating revenues of $882.6 million, compared to net income, excluding the effects of extraordinary and non-recurring items, of $100.2 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, on operating revenues of $705.9 million for the year ended December 31, 1999. Results for the year ended December 31, 1999 included an extraordinary charge of $10.8 million, net of taxes of $5.9 million, related to the Company's purchase and retirement of $125 million principal amount of its 9 1/8% Senior Notes due 2006 and the restructuring charge taken in the fourth quarter of 1999.

James C. Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Our excellent results for the year are a function of aggressively positioning the Company to respond to the strengthening market through prudent acquisitions and our proprietary upgrade programs." Offshore contract drilling services revenues from deepwater drilling units (capable of drilling in 3,000 feet and greater) accounted for approximately 46 percent and 45 percent of the Company's total offshore contract drilling services revenues for the fourth quarter of 2000 and 1999, respectively. Five of the company's six deepwater semisubmersibles activated since December 1998 are operating under long term contracts in the Gulf of Mexico and one is operating offshore Brazil. Offshore contract drilling services revenues from international sources accounted for approximately 48 percent and 62 percent of the Company's total offshore contract drilling services revenues for the fourth quarter of 2000 and 1999, respectively, as utilization and dayrates in the Gulf of Mexico increased significantly during 2000.

Utilization on the Company's domestic jackup and submersible rigs increased to 100 percent in the fourth quarter of 2000, up from 71 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999. The average dayrate on these rigs increased to $41,300 in the fourth quarter of 2000, up from $22,200 in the same quarter of the prior year. Day said, "Barring a significant downturn in the worldwide economy, prospects for the sector are very encouraging. As announced previously, we are finalizing our engineering on two of our idle semisubmersibles, the Noble Dave Beard and Noble Clyde Boudreaux, for deepwater applications up to a water depth of 10,000 feet.

Obviously these conversions will not occur without a commitment from a client. The conversions would take approximately 20 months and would be much more cost effective than new builds." Noble Drilling Corporation is a leading provider of diversified services for the oil and gas industry. Contract drilling services are performed with the Company's fleet of 49 offshore drilling units located in key markets worldwide. The Company's fleet of floating deepwater units consists of nine semisubmersibles and three dynamically positioned drillships, seven of which are designed to operate in water depths greater than 5,000 feet. The Company's premium fleet of 34 independent leg, cantilever jackup rigs includes 21 units that operate in water depths of 300 feet and greater, four of which operate in 360 feet and greater, and 11 units that operate in water depths of 250 feet. In addition, the Company's fleet includes three submersible units. Eleven of the Company's units are capable of operating in harsh environments. Over 60 percent of the fleet is currently deployed in international markets, principally including the North Sea, Africa, Brazil, the Middle East and Mexico. The Company also provides labor contract drilling services, well site and project management services, and engineering services. The Company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NE".

is a leading provider of diversified services for the oil and gas industry. Contract drilling services are performed with the Company's fleet of 49 offshore drilling units located in key markets worldwide. The Company's fleet of floating deepwater units consists of nine semisubmersibles and three dynamically positioned drillships, seven of which are designed to operate in water depths greater than 5,000 feet. The Company's premium fleet of 34 independent leg, cantilever jackup rigs includes 21 units that operate in water depths of 300 feet and greater, four of which operate in 360 feet and greater, and 11 units that operate in water depths of 250 feet. In addition, the Company's fleet includes three submersible units. Eleven of the Company's units are capable of operating in harsh environments. Over 60 percent of the fleet is currently deployed in international markets, principally including the North Sea, Africa, Brazil, the Middle East and Mexico. The Company also provides labor contract drilling services, well site and project management services, and engineering services. The Company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NE".

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