Swiss offshore drilling contractor Noble has said it will create a spin off of its offshore drilling business and create two separate companies.
The new company, which is expected to comprise of many of its standard specification drilling units, will own and operate five drillships, three semisubmersibles, 34 jackups, two submersibles and one floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit.
The high-specification assets will be owned and operated by Noble with a focus on deepwater and ultra-deepwater markets for drillships and semisubmersibles and harsh environment and high-specification markets for jackups.
Under the new plan, the standard specification business will be separated through the distribution of shares of the new company to Noble shareholders, in a spin-off that would be tax-free to shareholders.
The separation is subject to business, market, regulatory and other considerations and may be preceded by an initial public offering of up to 20% of shares of the new company.
According to Noble, the purpose of the separation is to split the company’s existing rig fleet into deepwater and ultra-deepwater assets, which will remain with it. Both companies will also have respective focused business as well as operational strategies.
Noble chairman, president and chief executive officer David Williams said the separation will enable the company to move forward with its development as a deepwater drilling company, through continued execution of new builds and fleet enhancements.
"By separating these two businesses, we believe each company will be able to better leverage the overall value of its fleet by focusing on the drivers of its particular business," Williams added.
Noble expects to complete the spin-off by the end of 2014, and also plans to bring the operational responsibility of Hibernia platform under the new entity.
Image: The new company will own and operate five drillships, three semisubmersibles and 34 jackups, among others. Photo courtesy of suwatpo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.