Last week, we observed offshore rig contracts getting shredded. So why isn't Noble
On its quarterly conference call yesterday, the contract driller hit upon a few comforting points, including one that I recently made about competitor Transocean
Noble passes this test with flying colors. If you look at the backlog, you'll see that 73% of those customers are national oil companies such as QatarGas or super majors such as ExxonMobil
So Noble's customers are well-capitalized outfits. But isn't there still a risk that they'll seek to renegotiate their contracts? Granted, we've seen folks such as Saudi Aramco and StatoilHydro
The company also sought to allay concerns regarding specific clients. There's a large, multivessel Petrobras
Then there's Pemex, the state company in charge of the basket case that is Mexico's energy sector. The country's oil production declined by a deep 9.2% in 2008. It's true that Noble has a high concentration of its jackups working for Pemex, but few outfits in this world are more committed to pumping up the oil volume.
Mexico has also embarked on a 27-well deepwater exploration program -- with a Noble rig, among others -- to last though 2012. If this endeavor is successful, Noble may soon find its backlog brimming with even more Mexican work. Bring it on, I say.