Marathon Oil has terminated its drilling contract with Noble Corporation for the ultra deepwater semisubmersible drilling rig Noble Jim Day.

Marathon had not accepted the rig by 31 December 2010 and therefore the contract was cancelled.

“We are disappointed by Marathon’s actions,” said Noble Corporation chairman, president and CEO David Williams. “Fortunately, the Noble Jim Day is one of the most capable rigs in existence and there are already a number of potential customers interested in a unit of this calibre.”

The contract had a timeframe of four years and was worth $752m in contract backlog to Noble.

Noble said the rig was ready to begin operations and should have been accepted by Marathon.