Noble Corporation Reports First Quarter 2013 Earnings

            Noble Corporation Reports First Quarter 2013 Earnings

PR Newswire

ZUG, Switzerland, April 17, 2013

ZUG, Switzerland, April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE)
today reported first quarter 2013 earnings of $150 million, or $0.59 per
diluted share, compared to $128 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, for the
fourth quarter of 2012. Earnings for the first quarter of 2012 totaled $120
million, or $0.47 per diluted share. Revenues for the first quarter of 2013
were $971 million compared to $966 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 and
$798 million in the first quarter of 2012.

David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble
Corporation stated, "During the first quarter, we saw an improvement in our
operational performance across several regions, compared to the fourth quarter
of 2012. Two rigs accounted for most of the downtime in the quarter, the
semisubmersibles Noble Clyde Boudreaux in Australia and in Brazil, the Noble
Paul Wolff which experienced a failure of its wellhead connector bolts.
Additional downtime was also experienced on the drillship Noble Globetrotter I
in the U.S. Gulf, however, fleet-wide unplanned operational downtime improved
by approximately 2 percentage pointsin the quarter from 7 percent in the
fourth quarter of 2012. While our performance improved in the quarter,
achieving further reductions in downtime and improving operational performance
remain key objectives for the Company."

Contract drilling services revenues for the first quarter of 2013 of $929
million improved by $7 million, or just under 1 percent from the fourth
quarter of 2012. The increase was primarily driven by improved fleet
utilization, which increased to 86 percent in the first quarter from 83
percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, coupled with a slight increase in
average dayrates, which improved to $174,600 from $174,100 over the
comparative period. Contract drilling services operating costs totaled $484
million in the first quarter of 2013, essentially unchanged from the fourth
quarter of 2012. Contract drilling margin for the first quarter of 2013 was
47.9 percent, compared to 47.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Net cash from operating activities was $203 million in the first quarter of
2013 as compared to $450 million for the fourth quarter of 2012. The decline
was primarily related to receivables issues with a major customer. These
issues were resolved subsequent to March 31, 2013 and full payment is expected
in the second quarter of 2013. Capital expenditures in the first quarter
totaled $372 million, including $138 million (excluding capitalized interest)
related to the Company's newbuild construction program. At March 31, 2013,
approximately $2.6 billion in capital expenditures (excluding capitalized
interest) is required to complete the remaining 11 projects in the Company's
newbuild construction program. Total debt at March 31, 2013 was $4.8 billion,
resulting in debt as a percentage of total capitalization of 36 percent, as
compared to 35 percent at year end 2012.

Noble's first quarter of 2013 effective tax rate was 17 percent, compared with
29 percent in the fourth quarter 2012. The decrease in the effective tax rate
was primarily due to changes in the geographic mix of pre-tax income and the
recognition of certain discrete items in the quarter.

Operating Highlights

Total backlog at March 31, 2013 was approximately $14.0 billion compared to
$14.3 billion at December 31, 2012. At the end of the first quarter 2013,
approximately 74 percent of the Company's available rig operating days were
committed for the remainder of 2013, including 79 percent of the floating rig
days and 76 percent of the jackup rig days. For 2014, an estimated 55 percent
of the available rig operating days were committed, including 71 percent and
50 percent of the floating and jackup rig days, respectively.

In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, which accounted for 31 percent of contract
drilling services revenues in the first quarter, four of the region's seven
active rigs experienced improved operating performance. Contract opportunities
remain strong, especially for rigs addressing customer needs in deepwater, as
evidenced by the recent two-year contract extension for the semisubmersible
Noble Amos Runner at a dayrate of $450,000.

In Brazil, operational improvements were largely driven by better performance
on the drillships Noble Bully II, Noble Phoenix and Noble Leo Segerius.
Substantially offsetting the improvement was increased downtime on the
semisubmersible Noble Paul Wolff, which experienced a failure of the wellhead
connector bolts. The first quarter also saw the commencement of a three-year
contract on the semisubmersible Noble Max Smith at a dayrate of $407,000,
which contributed to a 2 percent improvement in average revenues from the
region in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

The Company's 12 jackup rigs operating offshore Mexico continued to achieve
excellent operating performance.Recently, the Noble Johnnie Hoffman received
a contract award covering three years at a dayrate of $101,500, up from its
previous dayrate of $80,000. Contract opportunities remain encouraging for
other Noble jackups in the region with near-term availability, as demand from
PEMEX is expected to continue to grow. Previously the Company announced a
definitive agreement to sell the Noble Lewis Dugger for $61 million. Due to
extensions undertaken by the customer to complete the well in progress, the
transaction is now expected to close during the second quarter of 2013.

The operating results for the Company's Europe and Mediterranean fleet
remained strong during the first quarter of 2013, however, the Company saw the
early termination of a contract for the semisubmersible Noble Homer
Ferrington, due in part to well permitting delays experienced by the customer.
Recently, the semisubmersible Noble Paul Romano was awarded a one-well program
for work in the Eastern Mediterranean at a dayrate of $465,000. The contract
is expected to commence in August 2013. Both the Romano and Ferrington
continue to be marketed to customers inside and outsidethe Eastern
Mediterranean. In the North Sea, the Company's eight jackups continue to
experience near-full operating utilization with increasing interest from
customers to contract rigs into 2014 and beyond, as evidenced by the
three-year contract extension on the Noble Julie Robertson at a dayrate of
$150,000, contracting the rig into April 2016.

The Company's Middle and Far East division experienced improved performance
during the first quarter of 2013, primarily due to better operating
performance on the drillship Noble Duchess operating offshore India, and a
full quarter of operations on the jackup Noble Gus Androes, partially offset
by downtime on the semisubmersible Noble Clyde Boudreaux in Australia. The
Company continues to identify opportunities to address near-term availability
in its Middle East jackup fleet, as evidenced by a three year contract
extension on the Noble Harvey Duhaney at a dayrate of $111,500, up from a
previous dayrate of $66,000. 

Finally, in West Africa, where the Company operates five jackups, revenues
improved during the first quarter, primarily due to a full quarter of
operations on the Noble Lloyd Noble following the completion of a shipyard
project during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Outlook

In closing, Williams commented, "We are increasingly confident that key
fundamental factors in our business will remain in place, supporting robust
deep and shallow water drilling activity beyond 2013. We are evaluating a
number of contract opportunities, both for existing rigs in our fleet, and
those to be added this year and next, following the completion of construction
programs. I believe Noble is in a strong position to secure many of these
opportunities, given the geographic mix of our assets and the well-timed
delivery of our newbuilds. Overall, Noble is on the right path to deliver
improved execution and greater value to our shareholders."

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 first quarter
2013 results on Thursday, April 18, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. U.S. Central Daylight
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:
75234447, 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, April 18,
2013, beginning at 11:00 a.m. U.S. Central Daylight Time, through Thursday,
May 2, 2013, ending at 11:00 p.m. U.S. Central Daylight 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: 75234447. 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
                                          March 31,
                                          2013               2012
Operating revenues
 Contract drilling services             $   928,737     $   746,310
 Reimbursables                          21,174             35,141
 Labor contract drilling services       21,054             16,008
 Other                                  10                 231
                                          970,975            797,690
Operating costs and expenses
 Contract drilling services             484,087            420,011
 Reimbursables                          14,922             30,601
 Labor contract drilling services       12,249             9,232
 Depreciation and amortization          206,156            171,077
 General and administrative             25,570             23,126
 Gain on contract extinguishment        (1,800)            -
                                          741,184            654,047
Operating income                        229,791            143,643
Other income (expense)
 Interest expense, net of amount         (27,301)           (10,496)
 capitalized
 Interest income and other, net         (425)              1,785
Income before income taxes              202,065            134,932
 Income tax provision                   (34,352)           (21,589)
Net income                              167,713            113,343
 Net loss (income) attributable to       (17,653)           6,832
 noncontrolling interests
Net income attributable to Noble         $   150,060     $   120,175
Corporation
Net income per share
 Basic                                  $      0.59  $      0.47
 Diluted                                $      0.59  $      0.47



NOBLE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
                                    March 31,           December 31,
                                    2013                   2012
ASSETS
Current assets
 Cash and cash equivalents        $       214,528  $      
                                                           282,092
 Accounts receivable              887,759                743,673
 Prepaid expenses and other        326,278                279,560
 current assets
Total current assets              1,428,565              1,305,325
Property and equipment            17,329,558             16,971,666
 Accumulated depreciation         (4,144,693)            (3,945,694)
Property and equipment, net       13,184,865             13,025,972
Other assets                      276,528                276,477
 Total assets                     $    14,889,958    $    14,607,774
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY
Current liabilities
 Accounts payable                 $       319,674  $      
                                                           350,147
 Accrued payroll and related       118,706                132,728
 costs
 Dividend payable                 33,340                 66,369
 Other current liabilities        340,465                362,205
Total current liabilities         812,185                911,449
Long-term debt                    4,844,193              4,634,375
Deferred income taxes             223,500                226,045
Other liabilities                 347,395                347,615
 Total liabilities                6,227,273              6,119,484
Commitments and contingencies
Equity
 Total shareholders' equity       7,879,908              7,723,166
 Noncontrolling interests         782,777                765,124
 Total equity                     8,662,685              8,488,290
 Total liabilities and equity     $    14,889,958    $    14,607,774



NOBLE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
                                                      Three Months Ended
                                                      March 31,
                                                      2013         2012
Cash flows from operating activities
 Net income                                         $       $     
                                                      167,713     113,343
 Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash
 from operating activities:
 Depreciation and amortization                      206,156      171,077
 Other changes in operating activities              (171,317)    (183,794)
 Net cash from operating activities                 202,552      100,626
Cash flows from investing activities
 New construction                                   (137,893)    (133,075)
 Other capital expenditures                         (148,568)    (161,243)
 Drilling equipment replacement and upgrades        (55,654)     (29,928)
 Capitalized interest                               (29,875)     (40,637)
 Other investing activities                         (66,312)     (127,393)
 Net cash from investing activities                 (438,302)    (492,276)
Cash flows from financing activities
 Net change in borrowings on bank credit             209,680      (825,000)
 facilities
 Proceeds from issuance of senior notes, net of      -            1,186,636
 debt issuance costs
 Contributions from joint venture partners          -            40,000
 Par value reduction payments/dividends paid        (33,335)     (36,370)
 Other financing activities                         (8,159)      (3,972)
 Net cash from financing activities                 168,186      361,294
 Net change in cash and cash equivalents            (67,564)     (30,356)
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period      282,092      239,196
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period            $       $     
                                                      214,528     208,840



NOBLE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL INFORMATION BY SEGMENT
(In thousands, except operating statistics)
(Unaudited)
                      Three Months Ended March 31,                             Three Months Ended December
                                                                               31,
                      2013                        2012                         2012
                      Contract                    Contract                     Contract
                      Drilling                    Drilling                     Drilling
                      Services  Other   Total     Services  Other    Total     Services  Other    Total
Operating revenues
Contract drilling    $        $     $        $        $     $        $        $     $ 
services             928,737        928,737  746,310        746,310  921,603    -    921,603
                                 -                         -
Reimbursables       20,711    463     21,174    34,702    439      35,141    21,043    362      21,405
Labor contract       -         21,054  21,054    -         16,008   16,008    -         23,352   23,352
drilling services
Other               10        -       10        231       -        231       7         -        7
                      $        $      $        $        $       $        $        $        $ 
                      949,458   21,517  970,975  781,243  16,447  797,690  942,653  23,714  966,367
Operating costs and
expenses
Contract drilling    $        $     $        $        $     $        $        $     $ 
services             484,087        484,087  420,011        420,011  483,843    -    483,843
                                 -                         -
Reimbursables       14,469    453     14,922    30,173    428      30,601    17,127    351      17,478
Labor contract       -         12,249  12,249    -         9,232    9,232     -         12,825   12,825
drilling services
Depreciation and     202,619   3,537   206,156   167,948   3,129    171,077   205,329   3,513    208,842
amortization
General and          24,949    621     25,570    22,844    282      23,126    24,060    542      24,602
administrative
Loss on impairment  -         -       -         -         -        -         -         2,039    2,039
Gain on contract     (1,800)   -       (1,800)   -         -        -         -         -        -
extinguishment
                      $        $      $        $        $       $        $        $        $ 
                      724,324   16,860  741,184  640,976  13,071  654,047  730,359  19,270  749,629
Operating income    $        $     $        $        $      $        $        $       $ 
                      225,134   4,657   229,791  140,267  3,376   143,643  212,294  4,444   216,738
Operating
statistics
Jackups:
Average Rig          93%                         79%                          89%
Utilization
Operating Days      3,598                       3,089                        3,520
Average Dayrate     $                          $                         $ 
                      105,559                     90,382                       100,356
Semisubmersibles:
Average Rig          84%                         86%                          85%
Utilization
Operating Days      1,053                       1,092                        1,096
Average Dayrate     $                          $                           $ 
                      321,037                     355,098                     360,226
Drillships:
Average Rig          83%                         51%                          82%
Utilization
Operating Days      669                         285                          679
Average Dayrate     $                          $                           $ 
                      315,216                     278,693                     255,667
FPSO/Submersibles:
Average Rig          0%                          0%                           0%
Utilization
Operating Days      -                           -                            -
                      $                        $                         $   
Average Dayrate        -                                                -
                                                  -
Total:
Average Rig          86%                         74%                          83%
Utilization
Operating Days      5,320                       4,466                        5,295
Average Dayrate     $                          $                           $ 
                      174,578                     167,124                     174,065



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
                                              March 31,
                                              2013             2012
Allocation of net income
Basic
Net income attributable to Noble             $  150,060     $  120,175
Corporation
Earnings allocated to unvested share-based   (1,667)          (1,126)
payment awards
Net income to common shareholders - basic   $  148,393     $  119,049
Diluted
Net income attributable to Noble             $  150,060     $  120,175
Corporation
Earnings allocated to unvested share-based   (1,664)          (1,125)
payment awards
Net income to common shareholders -          $  148,396     $  119,050
diluted
Weighted average number of shares           253,073          251,971
outstanding - basic
Incremental shares issuable from assumed     268              491
exercise of stock options
Weighted average number of shares           253,341          252,462
outstanding - diluted
Weighted average unvested share-based        2,844            2,407
payment awards
Earnings per share
Basic                                       $     0.59  $     0.47
Diluted                                     $     0.59  $     0.47



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
 
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