(Adds cost controls, comments on fleet outlook)
HOUSTON, April 16 Noble Corp, a leading
offshore driller, reported first-quarter net income on Wednesday
of 99 cents a share, higher than consensus forecasts, as new
rigs helped lift revenues.
ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S had forecast earnings of 70 cents a
share, or 82 cents a share excluding special items.
Noble, with a fleet of about 77 drilling units, said
revenues from drilling services provided to oil and gas
companies rose some 30 percent to $1.2 billion in the latest
quarter from a year earlier as several new rigs went into
operation and operating days improved.
Noble said more drillships were becoming ready and that its
current construction program is nearing an end.
"By the end of 2014, we expect to have taken delivery from
shipyards of our final two ultra-deepwater drillships and two of
our final three high-specification jackups," the company said.
"These fleet additions should provide significant contributions
to future financial results."
(Reporting by Terry Wade; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)