Offshore Driller Noble Sees Strength In Premium Jackup Market

As offshore drilling contractors claw their way back from the downturn, Noble Corp. (NYSE: NE) sees positive signs emerging—especially for premium jackups in the Middle East and the North Sea.

“We’re seeing visible signs of the market firming on the jackup side,” Adam Peakes, senior vice president and CFO for Noble Corp., said May 15 during Citi Global Energy and Utilities Conference in Boston. But “It’s fair to say we’re kind of bouncing along the bottom on the ultradeepwater drillship side.”

Offshore drillers were dealt crippling blows when lower oil prices prompted oil and gas companies to reduce exploration spending, lower activity and seek cost cuts. But rising oil prices have given way to more action, sending demand for premium jackup and harsh-environment rigs higher as utilization rates pick up.