Noble Energy has signed a contract to hire Ensco’s ultra-deepwater drillship ENSCO DS-7 for offshore work in Israel.

Under the contract, Noble Energy will use ENSCO DS-7 to drill two wells and complete four production wells at the Leviathan field development in the Mediterranean Sea.

Expected to commence in March and completed in December next year, the contract also includes four one-well priced customer options, which would extend it to 2020, if fully exercised.

Ensco CEO and president Carl Trowell said: “This award and our other recent contract wins validate our strategy, increase contracted revenue backlog, and advance our efforts to drive growth and value creation for all Ensco shareholders.”

Before preparing for the Mediterranean Sea, ENSCO DS-7 will be upgraded with a second blowout preventer.

"The $10m upgrade is set to strengthen the drillship’s capability."

Along with its dual derricks and other technical specifications, the $10m upgrade is set to strengthen the drillship’s capability.

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After the completion of upgrades, ENSCO DS-7 will begin its contract with Noble Energy.

Trowell added: “Our recent contract awards underscore that there is strong customer demand for the type of high-specification assets that will be added to Ensco’s fleet through our pending acquisition of Atwood, which will create a leading global offshore drilling company and better position us as the market recovery cycle unfolds.”

Ensco, which has been operating for more than 30 years, provides offshore drilling services to the petroleum industry across the globe.