UPDATE 1-Noble considers older rig sales as it builds more

* Follows recent announcements of plans for 5 new rigs

* CEO will consider potential for spin-off of older rigs

* Rival Transocean also looking at spinning off older rigs

NEW ORLEANS, March 30 (Reuters) – Noble Corp (NE.N: Quote, Profile, Research), owner
of the second-largest offshore drilling fleet, is looking at
potential sales of older, less-capable rigs in order to improve
the overall fleet profile, its chief executive said on
Wednesday.

Like many in the industry, the company is in the process of
adding new rigs to meet greater demands for high-end technology
among its clients, especially after the Deepwater Horizon
disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Noble is building three new ultra-deepwater rigs
[ID:nL3E7E41DM], and announced earlier this week plans to build
two more shallow-water jackup rigs as well. [ID:nN28177428]

“We do think that if we can keep building on the top end,
and take some of the low end fleet out the bottom, we can
reshape this fleet,” CEO David Williams told investors at the
Howard Weil Energy Conference in New Orleans.

Williams said it was very early in the process, but he
thought there were potential buyers for some older units and
that he was also considering the possibility of a spin-off of a
tranche of rigs. He expected a decision as early as this year.

Noble will not be alone. Industry leader Transocean Ltd
(RIGN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research)(RIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Monday it was also considering a
spin-off of an older part of its fleet too. [ID:nN28194728]
(Reporting by Braden Reddall, editing by Matthew Lewis)

UPDATE 1-Noble considers older rig sales as it builds more