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Offshore Oil-Rig Operator Noble Cleared to Exit Chapter 11

Noble Corp. , an operator of offshore oil-and-gas drilling rigs, was cleared to exit bankruptcy with a plan that transfers control of the business to its bondholders and trims more than $3 billion in debt.

Judge David R. Jones of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston on Friday confirmed Noble’s chapter 11 plan that is built on a debt-for-equity swap with bondholders and a settlement of multibillion-dollar litigation over the company’s 2014 spinoff of Paragon Offshore PLC.

London-based Noble said the bankruptcy plan had overwhelming support from the company’s creditors and is designed to allow the drilling rig operator to weather the turbulent oil market during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have never seen a case that could have been this complicated run this well,” Judge Jones said.

A lawyer representing Noble said during a court hearing Friday that the new company expects to get regulatory approvals for its business in Saudi Arabia and the European Union. Noble may need to switch the registration of its parent company, Noble Corp. PLC, from the U.K. to the Cayman Islands if approvals don’t come before the end of the year because of regulatory complications caused by Brexit, the lawyer said.

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