Noble sues Marathon over cancelled $752 mln deal

Fri May 6, 2011 2:44pm EDT

Related Topics

* Noble discloses that it filed lawsuit in March

* Cancelled contract was worth $752 mln over four years

SAN FRANCISCO May 6 (Reuters) - Noble Corp (NE.N), the second-largest offshore rig contractor by fleet size, is suing Marathon Oil Corp (MRO.N) over its cancellation of a four-year, $752 million contract for a rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Marathon cancelled the contract for the Jim Day in January, saying Noble failed to meet the criteria needed for Marathon to accept the deepwater rig by the deadline of Dec. 31, 2010.

"We believe the rig was ready to commence operations and should have been accepted by Marathon," Noble said in a quarterly filing with U.S. financial regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission, released on Friday.

Marathon, a Houston-based oil and gas producer, had also cited a force majeure condition for the contract because of a lack of deepwater permits in the Gulf of Mexico following last year's well blow-out and oil spill. [ID:nN03193046]

Force majeure clauses relieve a company from liability when it cannot fulfill contractual obligations because of natural and unavoidable catastrophes.

Noble, based in Switzerland, said it had filed its lawsuit against Marathon in Texas state district court in March, seeking damages for Marathon's actions.

Noble did not have any further comment. A spokesman for Marathon was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Braden Reddall, editing by Bernard Orr)