Jan 22 Noble Corp posted a rise in
fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, in line with Wall Street
expectations, as the offshore drilling contractor successfully
raised daily rates it charges clients, offsetting a decline in
operating days due to repairs and other reasons.
Shares of Noble, ranked fourth among offshore drillers by
market capitalization, fell 1.5 percent in after-hours trading.
The company's chief executive officer said he expected slack
demand for rigs in the first part of this year.
For the fourth quarter, the company posted net income of
$174.1 million, or 68 cents per share, up from $127.6 million,
or 50 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Excluding an impairment charge for its rigship Seillean, the
company posted profit of 82 cents per share. That matched the
earnings analysts were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters
The average rate paid for a Noble rig in the fourth quarter
rose to $212,000 per day from $194,600 per day in the third
Yet the number of operating days for Noble's rigs fell
slightly during the quarter, due in part to repairs in the
fast-growing Middle East region.
Moving into 2014, oil and natural gas producers are likely
to use fewer rigs, Chief Executive David Williams said in a
"After the very robust pace of offshore activity over the
past four years, our industry may be entering a short and
arguably useful pause in the cycle," he said.