Noble Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Earnings

     Noble Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Earnings

PR Newswire

ZUG, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2013

ZUG, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE)
today reported fourth quarter 2012 earnings of $128 million, or $0.50 per
diluted share, compared to $115 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, for the
third quarter of 2012. Earnings for the fourth quarter 2011 totaled $127
million, or $0.50 per diluted share.Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012
were $966 million compared to $884 million in the third quarter of 2012 and
$751 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Earnings for the full year 2012 totaled $522 million, or $2.05 per diluted
share, on revenues of $3.5 billion. The results compared to earnings of $371
million, or $1.46 per diluted share on revenues of $2.7 billion in 2011.

Addressing the Company's performance in the fourth quarter of 2012, David W.
Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Corporation
stated, "A company transformation as extensive as we are undertaking can be
challenging, and as we saw in the fourth quarter, can produce inconsistent
operating performance. Although Noble added three state-of-the-art,
ultra-deepwater drillships to its fleet during 2012 and placed two other
drillships into service following significant enhancement and maintenance
programs, initial operations on these five rigs have not been as seamless as
we had hoped, particularly with respect to certain critical components.
Approximately 33 percent of the downtime days in the fourth quarter were
attributable to these five rigs. In 2013, we are heavily focused on improving
results from these rigs, our incoming newbuilds and the revenue efficiency of
our entire fleet."

Contract drilling services revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 of $922
million improved by $88 million, or 11 percent from the third quarter, due
primarily to an increase in operating days following the return of several
rigs to active service for all or a significant portion of the fourth quarter,
and higher average dayrates, which improved 3 percent in the quarter. The
increase in fleet operating days, in addition to costs associated with the
repair and maintenance of rigs and mobilization and demobilization activity,
contributed to a $35 million increase in contract drilling costs in the fourth
quarter to $484million, which compares to $449 million in the third quarter.
Contract drilling margin for the fourth quarter was 47.5 percent, compared to
46.1 percent in the third quarter.

Williams also noted, "Milestones continue to be met in our newbuild program,
putting us in a position this year to take delivery of three ultra-deepwater
drillships from shipyards – the Noble Don Taylor, Noble Globetrotter II and
Noble Bob Douglas – and three high-specification jackups – the Noble Mick
O'Brien, Noble Regina Allen and Noble Houston Colbert. In addition, we secured
contracts for two more of our JU3000N jackups. The Noble Houston Colbert has
been awarded a minimum one-year contract at a base dayrate of $235,000, with
the contract expected to commence during the fourth quarter of 2013. In
addition, the Noble Sam Turner has been awarded a two-year contract at a
dayrate of $215,000 for operations in the Dutch sectorof theNorth Sea. This
contract is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2014."

Jurong Shipyard in Singapore has successfully leveled the Noble Regina Allen,
a JU3000N jackup under construction that tilted during a jacking system test
in early December 2012. Although no structural damage has been identified, an
investigation into the cause of the incident is being conducted by the vessel
designer, the shipyard and relevant government authorities. The rig was
originally scheduled for delivery during the first quarter of 2013; however,
Noble has now been advised by the shipyard that, following completion of the
repairs, the revised estimated delivery will be by the end of third quarter
2013.

Net cash from operating activities was $450 million in the fourth quarter 2012
and $1.4 billion for full year 2012. Capital expenditures in the fourth
quarter 2012 totaled $423 million, including $146 million (excluding
capitalized interest) related to the Company's fleet expansion program. In
2012, capital expenditures amounted to $1.7 billion, including $587 million
(excluding capitalized interest) associated with the fleet expansion program.
At December 31, 2012, approximately $2.7 billion in capital expenditures
(excluding capitalized interest) is required to complete the remaining 11
projects in the fleet expansion program.

Debt as a percentage of total capitalization at December 31, 2012 was 35.3
percent, unchanged from September 30, 2012.

Operating Highlights

At December 31, 2012, approximately 74 percent of the Company's available rig
operating days were committed for 2013, including 81 percent of the floating
rig days and 75 percent of the jackup rig days. For 2014, an estimated 50
percent of the available rig operating days were committed, including 71
percent and 42 percent of the floating and jackup rig days, respectively.
Total backlog at December 31, 2012 was approximately $14.3 billion, up from
$13.7 billion at December 31, 2011.

In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, activity levels in 2012 improved significantly in
the floating rig segment, with contracting opportunities, especially for
deepwater and ultra-deepwater capable rigs. The ultra-deepwater drillships
Noble Bully I and Noble Globetrotter I, which commenced initial operations
during the first half of 2012, completed the fourth quarter with improved
utilization statistics compared to the third quarter of 2012, as both rigs
continued to successfully address initial startup challenges. The Company's
seven active rigs in the region remain under contract through late 2013. The
average contract duration on three conventionally moored rigs exceeds one
year, including a recent contract award for the semisubmersible Noble Driller
covering five months at $405,000 per day, while four dynamically positioned
rigs have an average contract duration of more than four years.

In Brazil, the Company completed the planned replacement of the drillship
Noble Muravlenko with the Noble Phoenix during the fourth quarter of 2012,
while the Noble Leo Segerius completed its first quarter of operations
following the conclusion of a life-enhancement shipyard project. At present,
six of the Company's eight floating rigs assigned to the region are operating
and the semisubmersible Noble Max Smith and the drillship Noble Roger Eason
are expected to commence operations during the first and third quarters of
2013, respectively, following shipyard programs. All eight of the Company's
rigs in Brazil have contracts that extend into 2014 or beyond, including four
rigs that are contracted into or beyond 2016.

The Company's 12 jackup rigs operating offshore Mexico experienced another
strong quarter with all rigs under contract and 100 percent utilization during
the period. Three rigs in the region, which were expected to complete
contracts in late 2012, the Noble Johnnie Hoffman, Noble John Sandifer and
Noble Lewis Dugger, each received contract extensions to complete wells in
progress that could run into the mid-to-late first quarter of 2013. The Noble
Johnnie Hoffman and Noble John Sandifer are candidates for new contracts, with
multi-year terms and improved dayrates. The contracts are expected to be
awarded during the first quarter. The Company announced in December 2012 a
definitive agreement to sell the Noble Lewis Dugger for $61 million. The
transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter or early in
the second quarter of 2013.

Utilization of the Company's North Sea and Mediterranean fleet, consisting of
eight jackups and three semisubmersibles, was 95 percent in the fourth
quarter, down slightly from the third quarter 2012. This decline was the
result of the Noble Paul Romano completing its contract in earlyNovember.
Activity, particularly in the North Sea, remains brisk and there are
opportunities for multi-year contracts, such as the recent award for the Noble
Julie Robertson with contract terms of one year at a dayrate of $160,000. The
customer has the right to extend that contract up to a maximum of five years.
At present, seven of the Company's eight jackups in the region are contracted
into 2014.

The Company's Middle East and India division, consisting of 18 jackups, the
drillship Noble Duchess and the semisubmersible Noble Clyde Boudreaux,
completed the fourth quarter of 2012 with utilization of 85 percent, compared
to 72 percent in the third quarter. Three rigs, which were idle in the third
quarter while completing shipyard programs, returned to work during the fourth
quarter, improving utilization. The Company currently has seven rigs in the
two regions with availability during 2013, and contract opportunities are
being evaluated for most of the rigs. The division is expected to remain
active in 2013, especially in the jackup segment. One of the Company's two
idle rigs in the Middle East, the Noble George McLeod, recently received a
one-year contract for operations offshore Malaysia at a dayrate of $115,000.
The contract is expected to commence in May 2013, following the mobilization
of the rig. The Noble George McLeod will be the Company's first rig to operate
in offshore Southeast Asia.

In West Africa, the customer for the jackup Noble Tommy Craighead exercised
its last priced option, carrying the rig through early  August 2013 at a
dayrate of $108,000. In addition, the Company announced in December that it
had entered into a definitive agreement to sell the Noble Don Walker for $18
million. This standard specification jackup unit had been previously cold
stacked in Cameroon. This transaction is expected to close during the first
quarter of 2013.

Outlook

In closing, Williams commented, "Our business appears poised for another year
of cyclical expansion, supported by solid market fundamentals. We continue to
see strong customer demand across all the regions in which we operate and are
fortunate to have technologically advanced drilling units to offer clients as
they plan exploration and production spending beyond 2013.

In 2013, Noble remains focused on several strategic initiatives, including
strong execution of our fleet modernization program, improved revenue
efficiency through lower fleet downtime, increased geographic diversity, with
expansion into areas such as Southeast Asia, and progress toward our
standard-specification asset divestment process. As we move another year
closer to transforming the Noble fleet to a premium asset base, we expect to
have increased flexibility in our capital allocation plans for the future. We
believe that Noble is well positioned to drive long-term, sustainable value
for our shareholders and unparalleled service, safety and operational
integrity for our customers."

About Noble

Noble is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry.
Noble performs, through its subsidiaries, contract drilling services with a
fleet of 79 offshore drilling units (including five ultra-deepwater drillships
and six high-specification jackup drilling rigs currently under construction),
located worldwide, including in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, Mexico,
Brazil, the North Sea, the Mediterranean, West Africa, the Middle East, India
and Australia. Noble's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under
the symbol "NE." Additional information on Noble Corporation is available on
the Company's Web site at http://www.noblecorp.com.

Statements regarding contract backlog, earnings, costs, revenue, rig demand,
fleet condition or performance, shareholder value, timing of delivery of
newbuilds, contract commitments, dayrates, contract commencements, contract
extensions or renewals, letters of intent or award, industry fundamentals,
customer relationships and requirements, strategic initiatives, future
performance, growth opportunities, market outlook, as well as any other
statements that are not historical facts in this release, are forward-looking
statements that involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These
include but are not limited to operating hazards and delays, risks associated
with operations outside of the U.S., actions by regulatory authorities,
customers and other third parties, legislation and regulations affecting
drilling operations, compliance with regulatory requirements, factors
affecting the level of activity in the oil and gas industry, supply and demand
of drilling rigs, factors affecting the duration of contracts, delays in the
construction of newbuilds, the actual amount of downtime, factors that reduce
applicable dayrates, violations of anti-corruption laws, hurricanes and other
weather conditions, the future price of oil and gas and other factors detailed
in the Company's most recent Form 10-K, Form 10-Q's and other filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or
uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect,
actual results may vary materially from those indicated.

Conference Call

Noble has scheduled a conference call and webcast related to its fourth
quarter and full year 2012 results on Thursday, January 24, 2013, at 8:00 a.m.
U.S. Central Standard Time. Interested parties are invited to listen to the
call by dialing 1-866-461-7129, or internationally 1-706-679-3084, using
access code: 75232285, or by asking for the Noble Corporation conference call.
Interested parties may also listen over the Internet through a link posted in
the Investor Relations section of the Company's Web site.

A replay of the conference call will be available on Thursday, January 24,
2013, beginning at 11:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, through Thursday,
February 7, 2013, ending at 11:00 p.m. U.S. Central Standard Time. The phone
number for the conference call replay is 1-855-859-2056 or, for calls from
outside of the U.S., 1-404-537-3406, using access code: 75232285. The replay
will also be available on the Company's Web site following the end of the live
call.



NOBLE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)
                                    Three Months Ended    Twelve Months Ended
                                    December 31,          December 31,
                                    2012       2011       2012       2011
Operating revenues
 Contract drilling services       $ 921,603  $ 719,711  $          $
                                                          3,349,362  2,556,758
 Reimbursables                    21,405     15,344     115,495    79,195
 Labor contract drilling           23,352     15,881     81,890     59,004
 services
 Other                            7          109        265        875
                                    966,367    751,045    3,547,012  2,695,832
Operating costs and expenses
 Contract drilling services       483,843    382,562    1,776,481  1,384,200
 Reimbursables                    17,478     8,642      94,096     58,439
 Labor contract drilling           12,825     8,559      46,895     33,885
 services
 Depreciation and amortization    208,842    171,186    758,621    658,640
 Selling, general and              24,602     18,494     99,990     91,377
 administrative
 Loss on impairment               2,039      -          20,384     -
 Gain on contract                  -          -          (33,255)   (21,202)
 settlements/extinguishments, net
                                    749,629    589,443    2,763,212  2,205,339
Operating income                  216,738    161,602    783,800    490,493
Other income (expense)
 Interest expense, net of amount   (28,980)   (10,327)   (85,763)   (55,727)
 capitalized
 Interest income and other, net   662        (1,691)    5,188      1,484
Income before income taxes        188,420    149,584    703,225    436,250
 Income tax provision             (53,981)   (30,144)   (147,088)  (72,625)
Net income                        134,439    119,440    556,137    363,625
 Net income attributable to        (6,862)    7,563      (33,793)   7,273
 noncontrolling interests
Net income attributable to Noble   $ 127,577  $ 127,003  $         $ 
Corporation                                              522,344   370,898
Net income per share
 Basic                            $       $       $      $    
                                    0.50       0.50       2.05      1.46
 Diluted                          $       $       $      $    
                                    0.50       0.50       2.05      1.46







NOBLE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
                                   December 31,          December 31,
                                   2012                    2011
ASSETS
Current assets
 Cash and cash equivalents       $       282,092  $      239,196
 Accounts receivable             743,673                 587,163
 Prepaid expenses and other       274,426                 233,253
 current assets
Total current assets             1,300,191               1,059,612
Property and equipment           17,057,039              15,540,178
 Accumulated depreciation        (4,031,067)             (3,409,833)
Property and equipment, net      13,025,972              12,130,345
Other assets                     276,477                 305,202
 Total assets                    $     14,602,640    $   13,495,159
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY
Current liabilities
 Accounts payable                $       350,147  $      436,006
 Accrued payroll and related      132,728                 117,907
 costs
 Dividend payable                66,369                  -
 Other current liabilities       357,071                 273,267
Total current liabilities        906,315                 827,180
Long-term debt                   4,634,375               4,071,964
Deferred income taxes            226,045                 242,791
Other liabilities                347,615                 255,372
 Total liabilities               6,114,350               5,397,307
Commitments and contingencies
Equity
 Total shareholders' equity      7,723,166               7,406,521
 Noncontrolling interests        765,124                 691,331
 Total equity                    8,488,290               8,097,852
 Total liabilities and equity    $     14,602,640    $   13,495,159







NOBLE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
                                                      Twelve Months Ended
                                                      December 31,
                                                      2012         2011
Cash flows from operating activities
 Net income                                         $  556,137  $  363,625
 Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash
 from operating activities:
 Depreciation and amortization                      758,621      658,640
 Loss on asset impairment                           20,384       -
 Gain on contract extinguishments, net              -            (21,202)
 Other changes in operating activities              46,551       (260,823)
 Net cash from operating activities                 1,381,693    740,240
Cash flows from investing activities
 New construction                                   (586,746)    (1,671,057)
 Other capital expenditures                         (763,977)    (657,286)
 Drilling equipment replacement and upgrades        (183,113)    (170,468)
 Capitalized interest                               (135,975)    (122,424)
 Other investing activities                         (121,077)    99,689
 Net cash from investing activities                 (1,790,888)  (2,521,546)
Cash flows from financing activities
 Net change in borrowings on bank credit             (635,192)    935,000
 facilities
 Proceeds from issuance of senior notes, net of      1,186,636    1,087,833
 debt issuance costs
 Contributions from joint venture partners          40,000       536,000
 Payments of joint venture debt                     -            (693,494)
 Settlement of interest rate swaps                  -            (29,032)
 Par value reduction payments/dividends paid        (138,293)    (150,532)
 Other financing activities                         (1,060)      (3,144)
 Net cash from financing activities                 452,091      1,682,631
 Net change in cash and cash equivalents            42,896       (98,675)
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period      239,196      337,871
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period            $  282,092  $  239,196







NOBLE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL INFORMATION BY SEGMENT
(In thousands, except operating statistics)
(Unaudited)
                              Three Months Ended December 31,                        Three Months Ended
                                                                                     September 30,
                              2012                       2011                        2012
                              Contract                   Contract                    Contract
                              Drilling                   Drilling                    Drilling
                              Services  Other   Total    Services  Other    Total    Services  Other   Total
Operating revenues
                              $         $     $        $         $     $        $         $     $
Contract drilling services  921,603        921,603  719,711     -    719,711  833,212        833,212
                                        -                                                      -
Reimbursables               21,043    362     21,405   18,046    (2,702)  15,344   27,087    1,050   28,137
Labor contract drilling      -         23,352  23,352   -         15,881   15,881   -         22,667  22,667
services
Other                       7         -       7        109       -        109      16        -       16
                              $         $       $        $         $        $        $         $       $
                              942,653   23,714  966,367  737,866   13,179   751,045  860,315   23,717  884,032
Operating costs and
expenses
                              $         $     $        $         $     $        $         $     $
Contract drilling services  483,843        483,843  382,562     -    382,562  449,125        449,125
                                        -                                                      -
Reimbursables               17,127    351     17,478   11,181    (2,539)  8,642    20,039    1,008   21,047
Labor contract drilling      -         12,825  12,825   -         8,559    8,559    -         12,991  12,991
services
Depreciation and             205,329   3,513   208,842  169,574   1,612    171,186  191,638   3,449   195,087
amortization
Selling, general and         24,060    542     24,602   18,242    252      18,494   26,228    630     26,858
administrative
Loss on impairment          -         2,039   2,039    -         -        -        -         -       -
Gain on contract
settlements/extinguishments,  -         -       -        -         -        -        -         -       -
net
                              $         $       $        $         $       $        $         $       $
                              730,359   19,270  749,629  581,559   7,884    589,443  687,030   18,078  705,108
Operating income            $         $      $        $         $       $        $         $      $
                              212,294   4,444   216,738  156,307   5,295    161,602  173,285   5,639   178,924
Operating statistics
Jackups:
Average Rig Utilization     89%                        86%                         83%
Operating Days              3,520                      3,386                       3,285
Average Dayrate             $                          $                          $ 
                              100,356                    89,049                      97,857
Semisubmersibles:
Average Rig Utilization     85%                        88%                         83%
Operating Days              1,096                      1,134                       1,067
Average Dayrate             $                          $                           $
                              360,226                    318,013                     331,900
Drillships:
Average Rig Utilization     82%                        50%                         73%
Operating Days              679                        277                         590
Average Dayrate             $                          $                           $
                              255,667                    207,769                     267,166
FPSO/Submersibles:
Average Rig Utilization     0%                         0%                          0%
Operating Days              -                          -                           -
                              $                       $                        $   
Average Dayrate                -                                              -
                                                         -
Total:
Average Rig Utilization     83%                        79%                         78%
Operating Days              5,295                      4,797                       4,942
Average Dayrate             $                          $                           $
                              174,065                    150,027                     168,608







NOBLE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CALCULATION OF BASIC AND DILUTED NET INCOME PER SHARE
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)
The following table sets forth the computation of basic and diluted net
income per share:
                        Three months ended        Twelve months ended
                        December 31,                December 31,
                        2012          2011          2012          2011
Allocation of net
income
Basic
Net income
attributable to Noble   $  127,577  $  127,003  $  522,344  $  370,898
Corporation
Earnings allocated to
unvested share-based    (1,301)       (1,221)       (5,309)       (3,727)
payment awards
Net income to common   $  126,276  $  125,782  $  517,035  $  367,171
shareholders - basic
Diluted
Net income
attributable to Noble   $  127,577  $  127,003  $  522,344  $  370,898
Corporation
Earnings allocated to
unvested share-based    (1,300)       (1,219)       (5,302)       (3,719)
payment awards
Net income to common
shareholders -          $  126,277  $  125,784  $  517,042  $  367,179
diluted
Weighted average
number of shares       252,722       251,636       252,435       251,405
outstanding - basic
Incremental shares
issuable from assumed   253           414           356           584
exercise of stock
options
Weighted average
number of shares       252,975       252,050       252,791       251,989
outstanding - diluted
Weighted average
unvested share-based    2,604         2,442         2,592         2,552
payment awards
Earnings per share
Basic                 $         $         $         $    
                        0.50         0.50         2.05         1.46
Diluted               $         $         $         $    
                        0.50         0.50         2.05         1.46







SOURCE Noble Corporation

Website: http://www.noblecorp.com
Contact: For Investors: Jeffrey L. Chastain, Vice President - Investor
Relations and Corporate Communications, Noble Drilling Services Inc.,
+1-281-276-6383, or For Media: John S. Breed, Director of Investor Relations
and Corporate Communications, Noble Drilling Services Inc., +1-281-276-6729