Noble Corp., which has ordered construction of two of the industry’s most expensive drilling rigs this year, will buy a third ultra-deepwater vessel as contractors take advantage of higher crude prices and low shipyard costs.
The rig, which will be able to drill in water as deep as 12,000 feet (3,700 meters), will cost $615 million, the Geneva- based drilling contractor said. Noble ordered all three rigs from Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Noble has four additional deepwater rigs under construction.
Delivery of the newest rig is expected in the second quarter of 2014, Noble said.
New rig construction orders remain a “hot topic” for offshore drillers, Judson Bailey, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in Houston, wrote in a Feb. 4 note to investors.
Oil prices have climbed 26 percent during the past year, while the cost to build the industry’s most expensive type of rig, which can drill in the deepest water, is down from about $800 million in 2008.