"Noble has grown from a midcontinent land-drilling company with a few offshore rigs to quite an international force with 62 rigs around the world, and we're not done yet."
-- Chairman and CEO David Williams
In case anyone was confused by Noble's
How does a company generate excess cash, you ask? The quarterly numbers tell that story. Contract drilling revenue hit nearly $800 million, and lower-than-expected expenses produced a drilling margin far in excess of deepwater denizen Diamond Offshore
At the end of the day, Noble's operations produced nearly $500 million in cash, more than double the amount directed to capital spending. That, my friends, is what we call excess cash generation. It's a condition that afflicts Diamond, ENSCO International
Circling back to the matter of expansion, Noble's unwillingness to build cash on the balance sheet also doesn't indicate that the company's not focusing on increasing its newbuild program. The company is still looking at building new rigs, but it needs a contract from a quality operator. Noble's visceral opposition to spec building probably exceeds even that of Transocean
Noble, which is riding high on a slew of Petrobras