Offshore driller Noble Corp. Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. have entered a unique commercial enabling agreement on Feb. 11 for drilling services in the Guyana-Suriname Basin.

The agreement defines contract terms for the continuation of drilling services using certain drilling units in Noble’s fleet. The ultradeepwater drillships Noble Bob DouglasNoble Tom Madden and Noble Don Taylor, which are currently executing drilling assignments for Exxon Mobil offshore Guyana, are included in the framework agreement, and other drilling rigs may be added to the agreement. The Noble Bob Douglas is located on the Liza Phase I field development project, while the Noble Tom Madden and Noble Don Taylor are assigned to exploration drilling in the region.

Concurrent with the signing of the agreement, ExxonMobil has awarded 3.5 years of term to be added at the conclusion of each rigs' current contract commitments.

The agreement provides for the allocation of six additional years dependent on future development decisions and government approvals, as well as the potential for the incremental contract term, or rigs as required.

“The Guyana-Suriname basin stands as one of the world’s premier offshore exploration and development opportunities. Since establishing an operating presence offshore Guyana in March 2018 with the Noble Bob Douglas, we have continued to expand our footprint in the region,” Julie J. Robertson, chairman, president, and CEO of Noble, said.

“The commercial enabling agreement with ExxonMobil takes our regional position a step further, as we benefit from multiyear contract visibility and utilization allocated across three of our premium drillships. This attractive commercial model secures current market pricing dynamics on six-month intervals and important operational economies of scale, and, importantly, the agreement can cover additional Noble drilling rigs. We are honored to strengthen our relationship with ExxonMobil and to have a significant role in this prolific region, which will continue to contribute to the growing need for advanced offshore drilling technology and solutions,” Robertson added.     

The Noble Bob DouglasNoble Tom Madden, and Noble Don Taylor are each Gusto P-10000 design ultradeepwater drillships capable of operating in water depths of up to 12,000 ft (3,657 m). The rigs, which commenced operations during 2013 and 2014, are equipped with advanced drilling systems, and redundant subsea control technology and station-keeping systems.