(Adds cost controls, comments on fleet outlook)
HOUSTON, April 16 (Reuters) - 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)