Noble Drilling stacks another Gulf rig, lays off scores of workers

A letter from the Texas Workforce Commission released Tuesday showed that Noble Drilling will lay off more workers in March after the company stacks another Gulf of Mexico oil rig.

Sugar Land-based Noble said in the letter dated Jan. 12 that the Noble Danny Adkins, a semi-submersible rig located in international waters in the Gulf, would be shut down and that 100 to 120 workers on the platform would be cut. All of the employees report to Noble’s offices on South Dairy Ashford.

Noble “expects the layoffs to be permanent,” Director of Personnel Joe Knight wrote in the letter, though he left the possibility that some of the cut employees could be hired back if the company secures a new contract for the Danny Adkins.

But the global plunge in oil prices has hammered offshore producers like Noble, which is a subsidiary of London-based drilling contractor conglomerate Noble Corp.

In Novemver, Switzerland-based Transocean said it would reorganize as a smaller company in the face of decreasing demand for its offshore drilling rigs. Houston-based Paragon Offshore has been threatened with de-listing by the New York Stock Exchange, and missed a $14.5 million interest payment on its debt last week. Many other smaller offshore drillers are at risk of going bankrupt as oil prices continue their descent, Fitch Ratings said in August.

Prospects for future work for Noble looked just as dire on Jan. 14, when the company released a fleet status report showing that no new contracts had been signed and that Saudi Aramco had recieved rate reductions on four rigs. And another Noble customer, Australian mining giant Freeport-McMoran, had announced rig reductions for the Gulf.

This is Noble’s second stacked rig in the Gulf in less than two months, following the company’s announcement on Nov. 30 that it was shutting down the Jim Day rig and laying off 120 to 130 employees.

Gulf-W-Noble Drilling (US) LLC for Release 01-13-16

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