Noble follows Transocean with new 'spin-off'

Vol 17, PW 16 (27 Mar 14) People & Policy

New York-listed Noble Corporation, one of the largest players in India's offshore rig market, is radically restructuring its rig business.

Noble traditionally offers rigs in India through partners Jindal Drilling and Deepwater Drilling, but it’s about to spin-off 34 of its "standard" jack-ups into a new company called Paragon Offshore, as Transocean did in 2012 when it spun off 37 rigs into Shelf Drilling. Noble will keep 15 “premium” or high-spec jack-ups, including four under-construction, with itself, targeting high value markets like high temperature/high pressure fields.

Still unclear is if Noble or its new spin-off Paragon will directly offer rigs, cutting out Jindal and Deepwater. Noble executives phoned Jindal and Deepwater in mid-February to tell them to still offer rigs Noble Charlie Yester and Noble Kenneth Delaney to meet the April 3 deadline for ONGC’s 11-rig tender.

Jindal and Deepwater were also told Noble will bid directly for the Category IV ‘new-build’ tender component in the name of Noble India Ltd. Speaking to PETROWATCH, Noble spokesman John Breed says: “The process of “spinning off” Paragon is underway. Our next step is to submit the proposed spin-off to shareholders for a vote, expected in April.

” Only then, adds Breed, will Noble decide the shape of the new company and how it will come to market and work with partners and customers.