Houston-based Noble Energy said on 27 September it is leasing a drillship in a deal valued at $640m. The Atwood Advantage, currently under construction in South Korea, will be leased for 36 months from Atwood Oceanics. It is to be delivered in 4Q13 and its first target will be Israel’s offshore Leviathan field, where Noble intends to prospect for oil at depths beneath the 17 tcf gas reservoir it discovered there in 2010. Noble and its Israeli partners estimate that as much as 600mn barrels of crude may exist at lower levels along with as much as an additional 4 tcf of gas.

The drillship is being constructed by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Company (DMSE). Upon delivery, the lease rate of $584,000 per day will be initiated. Noble said that the dual blowout preventer stacks, enhanced offline capabilities, 12,000 feet (3,657ms) water depth/40,000 feet (12,192ms) drill depth ratings and the increased mobility will add flexibility to its global exploration program. “The rig’s advanced capabilities are sufficient to reach the deep oil target in the Eastern Mediterranean, which will be the first exploration prospect drilled,” said Noble. (CONTINUED - 289 WORDS)