[OIL DRILLER] Noble Corp. says Olympics may slow rig-building

Noble Corp., the third-largest U.S. offshore oil driller, said China's plan to curb industrial output in the weeks before the Olympic Games may slow delivery of drilling rigs under construction in Chinese shipyards.

"We might see a little bit of go-slow" if power supplies are disrupted or the Chinese government orders a halt to some manufacturing, Chief Executive Officer David Williams said today during a conference call with investors.

The Sugar Land, Texas-based company has three rigs in various stages of construction at a shipyard in Dalian. China is closing factories, halting building projects and ordering cars off the roads in a bid to cut air pollution before the games commence on Aug. 8.

Williams said he couldn't estimate what sort of impact shipyard delays could have on delivery schedules. The Noble Hans Deul, a rig with extendable legs that fold down to the seafloor, is least susceptible to work interruptions because it is almost ready to leave the yard.

The Noble Dave Beard and Noble Scott Marks are not scheduled to be finished until December and next June, respectively, according to public filings.

Source: Bloomberg

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