A Noble Corporation subsidiary has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell for a drilling contract on a newbuild, ultra-deepwater drillship.

The five and a half year drilling contract will be valid from the second half of 2013.

Noble Globetrotter II, which will be used for the contract, has capabilities including a 10,000ft water depth capability, 200 man quarters and DP-3 station keeping.

The Noble Globetrotter II’s capabilities will receive a base operating day rate of $410,000 and be eligible for a 15% performance bonus.

The LoI also provides for a lump sum mobilisation fee of $18m and a separate performance-based amount of $10m, subject to the achievement of certain criteria.