Noble, Maersk merger cleared by UK regulator

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Noble Corps.’ acquisition of Maersk Drilling has been given the greenlight after the United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) accepted the undertakings provided by Noble to resolve issues that could have resulted from the merger.

The CMA had noted competition concerns with the merger, in the supply of jack-up rigs for offshore drilling in the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands. The CMA had said the combined company would not face sufficient competition after the merger, which could lead to higher prices and lower quality services.

This led to Noble selling five rigs – the Noble Hans Deul, Noble Sam Hartley, Noble Sam Turner, Noble Houston Colbert, and Noble Lloyd Noble – for a total of US$375 million to a subsidiary of Shelf Drilling Ltd.

Noble Corporation and Maersk Drilling kick-started the merger back in November 2021, to create a combined company that will own and operate a modern, high-end fleet of floaters and jack-up rigs across benign and harsh environments, serving customers in the most attractive offshore oil and gas basins.

Noble is a leading offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. It has a fleet of 19 offshore drilling units, consisting of 11 drillships and eight jackups, focused largely on ultra-deepwater and high-specification jackup drilling opportunities. Currently, it is the company with the most drillships operating in Guyana’s Stabroek Block.

And Maersk Drilling provides responsible drilling services to energy companies worldwide; it owns and operates a fleet of offshore drilling rigs, and specialises in harsh environments and deepwater operations.

Maersk Drilling had said that both companies share a very strong conviction in the compelling industrial logic behind the creation of a world-class offshore driller with the scale, capabilities, and resources to successfully serve.

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