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Saudi Aramco suspends contract for Noble Scott Marks jackup

Noble Corp said in its Q1 2020 financial report that its contract with Saudi Aramco for the Noble Scott Marks jackup rig has been suspended at Saudi Aramco’s request.

The decision comes on the heels of Saudi Aramco’s request last month to reduce the operating dayrate for the Noble Scott Marks and three other rigs, the Noble Roger Lewis, the Noble Joe Knight and the Noble Johnny Whitstine. Noble did not provide any additional information on the dayrate reductions in its financial report. No dayrate will be paid for the Noble Scott Marks during the suspension period, which will start sometime in May and last for a period of up to 365 days. Noble will have the right to market the rig in pursuit of other work opportunities during this time, though the rig still officially remains under contract with Saudi Aramco until October 2022.

Seven of Noble’s nine actively marketed floating rigs were contracted by the end of Q1 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted some of these deals. In April, ExxonMobil put the Noble Tom Prosser jackup offshore Australia on standby for a period of up to 365 days.

“Despite the challenges posed by the unprecedented crisis that our industry currently faces, we remain customer focused,” Julie J. Robertson, Chairman, President and CEO of Noble, said in a statement. “We continue to seek additional cost efficiency measures to further streamline our organization for current market activity.”

Noble’s 12 floating rigs achieved utilization of 58% in Q1 2020, compared with 60% in Q4 2019. Those figures jump to 78% and 80%, respectively, when excluding the company’s three cold-stacked rigs. Noble also reported a 4% decline in operating days from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020, mostly due to reduced days for the Noble Bully II drillship, which spent the quarter mobilizing to a new stacking location.

Noble reported a net loss of $1.1 billion on total revenues of $281 million in Q1 2020, which lasted from 1 January to 31 March.

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