Maersk, Noble Merge to Become 3rd Largest Rigs Owner

Maersk Drilling has merged with Noble Drilling and will move into the latter’s headquarters in Houston, the US, to make the new company the third largest rig owner in the world. Maersk is headquartered in Denmark.

Taking the name of Noble, the merger brings in a synergy that is in line with the latest environmental trends.

In addition to Maersk’s 19-rig fleet, Noble will get one of the industry leaders in the chase for lowering rig carbon emissions.

Maersk, which has previously announced an ambitious climate target of a 50 per cent carbon dioxide reduction in drilling operations by 2030, has installed equipment and taken other steps toward this goal on, at least, five of its rigs.

Together, Noble will have 39 rigs, third behind only China Oilfield Services (COSL) and Valaris and ahead of Transocean.

The combined fleet by rig type includes 15 drillships with an overall young average age of 8.1 years, and just one unit over 10 years of age.

Two of the 15 units are cold stacked, and those are the only ones not contracted or committed for future work.

Five of the 13 contracted rigs have contracts that end in the first half of next year, with only two having options that would keep them employed through 2022 or beyond.

The current contracts of the fleet have an average dayrate of around $223,776, with just one unit having a rate below $200,000.

In looking at the top four drillship rig managers, the proposed Maersk/Noble would have the second largest fleet, and the second highest utilisation.

The average dayrates for all four companies show Transocean with far and away the highest average, thanks to several contract rates still in effect from the 2011-2013 fixture period.

The Maersk/Noble semisubmersible (semi) fleet will consist of just five units, four from Maersk and one from Noble.

One of the five is cold stacked, but the remaining four are all contracted.

The Noble Clyde Boudreaux is scheduled to wrap up its existing contract this month, a follow-up deal is expected shortly.

The earliest available date for the remaining four Maersk units is July 2022.

The average fleet age is older, at 17.7 years, although the 34-year old aforementioned Noble Clyde Boudreaux skews the number.

The same rig also currently drags down the average day rate for this fleet.

The known current rates for three of the four rigs is $212,662, including the Boudreaux current rate of $117,000.

The Maersk/Noble combination would be amongst the lower ranked companies with the semi fleet, although it would have the highest utilisation in the peer group.

The average fleet age is right in the middle, as is the company’s average current day rate.

Admittedly, this segment of the rig fleet would attract the least amount of attention, even though there are two $200,000 plus dayrate contracts in Australia and Suriname (one other Suriname fixture is not known), and a contract that we believe will be signed shortly for the Noble Clyde Boudreaux in Southeast Asia is expected to come in at a substantially higher rate.

Finally, the jackup fleet will contain 19 units; 11 from Maersk and eight from Noble.

The utilisation of the fleet at the time of this writing is 79 per cent, with four idle units (no cold stacked). Three of the four have only become idle within the last month.

One of the units, currently in the North Sea, is rumoured to be a frontrunner for a contract in the Middle East.

Two of the 15 contracted rigs will finish contracts this year, while five are booked into Q4 2022 or later.

The average current dayrate for the harsh-environment units is $311,000, while the remainder of the fleet’s known current contracts average around $96,000.

The average fleet age is only 9.5 years, even though seven of the 19 are 12 years of age or older.

About Parvin Faghfouri Azar

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