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Noble Corporation to Create Independent Standard Specification Co.

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Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a plan to separate a business comprised of many of its standard specification drilling units, resulting in the creation of two separate and highly focused offshore drilling companies.  The drilling units that would be owned and operated by the new company comprise most of the standard specification drilling units in the Noble fleet, including five drillships, three semisubmersibles, 34 jackups, two submersibles, and one FPSO.  The new company would also be responsible for the Hibernia platform operations.  Noble will continue to own and operate its high-specification assets with particular operating focus in deepwater and ultra-deepwater markets for drillships and semisubmersibles and harsh environment and high-specification markets for jackups.

The plan approved by the Board of Directors involves the separation of the standard specification business through the distribution of the shares of the new company to Noble shareholders in a spin-off that would be tax-free to shareholders.  Subject to business, market, regulatory and other considerations, the separation may be preceded by an initial public offering of up to 20 percent of the shares of the new company. Consummation of the transaction is contingent

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