Noble Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Noble (NE)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 19, 2012 9:00 am ET


Jeffrey L. Chastain - Vice President of Investor Relations

David W. Williams - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

James A. MacLennan - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Simon Johnson - Vice President of Marketing and Development

Roger B. Hunt - Senior Vice President of Marketing and Contracts


Brian Uhlmer - Global Hunter Securities, LLC, Research Division

Matthew D. Conlan - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Judson E. Bailey - ISI Group Inc., Research Division

Robin E. Shoemaker - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Collin Gerry - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Waqar Syed - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Ian Macpherson - Simmons & Company International, Research Division

Kurt Hallead - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Earl A. Stolz - Iberia Capital Partners, Research Division

Robert MacKenzie - FBR Capital Markets & Co., Research Division



Good morning. My name is Crissy, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Noble Corporation Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, ladies and gentlemen, this conference is being recorded today, Thursday, July 19, 2012. Thank you. I would now like introduce Mr. Jeff Chastain, Vice President of Investor Relations. Mr. Chastain, you may begin your conference.

Jeffrey L. Chastain

Okay. Thank you, Crissy, and welcome to everyone to Noble's second quarter 2012 earnings call. We appreciate your interest in the company. A copy of the company's earnings report issued last evening, along with supporting statements and schedules, can be found on the Noble website, and that's

Before I turn the call over to David, I'll once again remind everyone that any statements we make about our plans, expectations, estimates, predictions or similar expressions for the future, including those concerning the drilling business; market outlook and industry fundamentals; financial performance, operating results, fleet condition, performance and downtime; also tax rates, spending guidance, backlog, dayrates, contract opportunities, tenders, announcements, commencements and extensions; letters of intent; and finally, growth opportunities, newbuild delivery costs and dates and plans and objectives of management for future operations are all forward-looking statements and are subject to risks and uncertainties.

Our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which are posted on our website, discuss the risks and uncertainties in our business and industry and the various factors that could keep outcomes of any forward-looking statements from being realized. Our actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements.

Also note that we may use non-GAAP financial measures in the call today. If we do, you will find the required supplemental disclosure for these measures including the most directly comparable GAAP measure and an associated reconciliation on our website.

With that, I'll now turn the call over to David Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive. David?

David W. Williams

Thanks, Jeff. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the call. Joining me today in Geneva in addition to Jeff are James MacLennan, our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Roger Hunt, our Senior Vice President of Marketing and Contracts.

Roger's recovering from a summer cold, so Simon Johnson, our Vice President of Marketing and Contracts, who's based in Geneva, will make some comments on the market, and Roger will be available for some questions after the call.

Today, I'll provide some opening comments on the second quarter and cover some recent achievements as it pertains to our fleet transformation efforts, and James will give you more in-depth explanation for the quarterly performance and more importantly, some updated guidance for the balance of 2012. Simon will share some views on the offshore market, which continues to be quite strong, and he will highlight some recent and expected developments. Finally, I'll offer some closing thoughts on where we are as a company and where we're going before we begin addressing your questions.

I'm very happy with our results for the second quarter 2012 and some of the significant accomplishments that we posted in recent days. Second quarter results included a 14% improvement in revenues along with higher margins, both driven by a continuation of great market fundamentals. Also, our revenue efficiency improved with our unpaid downtime declining to under 3%, as we continue to experience some benefits from a number of operational and process improvements put in place over 2011 by Bernie Wolford and his team. There remains plenty to be done, but we are encouraged by the early results. James will address these quarterly highlights in more detail in just a minute.

Another area I'm delighted with is the steady improvement in numerous milestones we continue to record on the fleet transformation front. Recall at one point, this rejuvenation program involved 14 separate newbuilds with a number projects now down to only 11 following deliveries of the Noble Bully I, the Noble Bully II and the Globetrotter I last year. Although this remains a formidable task, our execution is beginning to reach the levels that we have always expected due to the strong efforts of Scott Marks and his team, our project managers and engineering group.

Let me give you a sense of the newbuild milestones that we have either met or expect to meet during the month of July. We launched the hull of our first HHI ultra-deepwater drillship, the Noble Don Taylor. The rig should complete construction activities in the second quarter of 2013 and following mobilization and commissioning, be ready to commence this drilling program in the second half of 2013.

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