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Noble Corporation Provides Update On Alaska-based Drillship Operations

Stocks in this article: NE

ZUG, Switzerland, Dec. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) today announced that it is working cooperatively and diligently to rectify deficiencies and maintenance issues raised by the U.S. Coast Guard during a recent inspection of the Company's drillship, the Noble Discoverer.  The inspection followed a successful drilling season in offshore Alaska. 

The Coast Guard has identified several components and systems aboard the Company's drillship for attention, including the ship's propulsion and safety management systems.  In connection with Noble's internal review independent of the Coast Guard inspection, Noble reported certain other potential regulatory non-compliance issues that it discovered relating to its operations, including possible unauthorized collected water discharges outside the period of drilling operations. 

Noble has already resolved a number of the issues with the Noble Discoverer identified by the Coast Guard and plans to complete the remaining items during the previously scheduled shipyard stay in Washington.  The drillship is currently being mobilized to the shipyard.  Noble and Royal Dutch Shell (the current customer for the Noble Discoverer), in coordination with the Coast Guard, are also reviewing the drillship's operations in Alaska and the impact of the 2012 arctic operating conditions with the intent of further strengthening the readiness of the drillship and the other drilling assets for 2013.  Additionally, the Company is developing an enhanced plan designed to ensure its drilling rigs and their related management procedures are in compliance with applicable maritime laws and leading industry practices. 

Noble continues to cooperate with the Coast Guard's ongoing review, as well as conducting its own investigation and a review of its marine management processes and procedures.  The Company cannot make any assurance as to the timing, impact or outcome of the Coast Guard investigation or its own investigation into these regulatory matters. 

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