The US independent will be using the the Atwood Advantage in its deep-water plays in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Noble said it has contracted the unit for 36 months from delivery in the fourth quarter of 2013 at $584,000 a day, putting the total contract backlog for Atwood at close to $640 million.
Equipped with a dual blow-out preventer and capable of drilling to 40,000 feet in 12,000 feet of water, the drillship is one of two being built by Atwood at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
The other, Atwood Achiever, is slated for delivery in June. The company also has an option, exercisable by the end of September, of a third drillship at DSME.
Atwood chief executive Robert Saltie recently hinted that it was focusing on the Golden Triangle off West Africa, Brazil and the US Gulf
to secure work for the Atwood Advantage.
“We haven’t eliminated any theatres of operation,” Saltiel said.
“We are certainly focused on the Golden Triangle. I think it’s fair
to say that’s where the bulk of the ultra-deepwater demand has been and
will continue to be going forward.”
A recent research note from Morgan Stanley said the Advantage could secure a
day rate of $620,000, while the Achiever could gain $540,000. “While
more serious discussions have centred on Atwood Advantage, the company
has not ruled out contracting the rigs as a pair given their identical
specifications,” said the note.