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NOBLE CORP: Seeks Approval to Tap Baker Botts as Special Counsel

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Noble Corporation plc and its debtor affiliates seek approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas to employ Baker Botts L.L.P. as their special counsel.

Baker Botts will render these professional services to the Debtors:

(a) assist with income tax advice in connection with corporate structuring of the Debtors during and upon exit from these proceedings;

(b) provide assistance on a variety of finance-related matters; and

(c) provide general corporate assistance.

The firm’s hourly rates are below:

Partners $995 – $1,505
Special Counsel $965 – $1,595
Associates $520 – $955
Paraprofessionals $340 – $375

The hourly rates of professionals who are expected to have primary responsibility in this engagement, inclusive of a 24% discount off Baker Botts’ standard hourly rates for 2020, are as follows:

Emanuel Christopher Grillo $1,144.00
David Sterling $1,075.00
David L. Emmons $1,003.00
Derek S. Green $996.00
Luke A. Weedon $969.00
Paul Thomas Luther $893.00
James Robert Prince $874.00
Justin Fitzgerald Hoffman $832.00
Thomas D. Fina $825.00
Eric M. Winwood $802.00
Terence Laurence Rozier-Byrd $802.00
Rachael Lee Lichman $802.00
Jonathan D. Lobb $790.00
Natasha Sharmeen Khan $783.00
Lyman Rushton Paden $783.00
Jennifer M. Trulock $779.00
Shadi Ratib Zohdi Haroon $768.00
Anthony Grant Everett $760.00
Krisa R. Benskin $745.00
Patrick Earl Matthews $745.00
Jason A. Wilcox $737.00
Brian Raymond Byrne $733.00
Cynthia Jo Cole $733.00
Sterling A. Marchand $726.00
Tyler M. Beas $714.00
Marian A. Fielding $703.00
David Levi Morris $703.00
Charles M. Davis III $680.00
Kathryn Anne McEvilly $680.00
Lakshmi R. Ramanathan $680.00
Wicki Andersen $657.00
Harrison Frazier Reback $638.00
Fareed Iqbal Kaisani $585.00
Austin John Collins $536.00
Hayley Danielle Hervieux $536.00
Jacqueline Paige Scioli $536.00
Gabriela Eva Alvarez $536.00
Brooke Gabrielle Chatterton $536.00
Jack Edward Chadderdon $490.00
Dominick J. Constantino $490.00
Caroline Adair Cartwright $395.00
Sean E. Aguirre $395.00
Malakeh Mazen Hijazi $395.00
Christian Eric Ryholt $395.00
Derek Ernest Gabriel $395.00
Robert M. Caine $285.00
Rory Minter Fontenla $285.00
Mark Patrick Schwartz $266.00
Sara Jane Jones $258.00
Richard Pravata $171.00

In addition, the firm will seek reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with these chapter 11 cases.

The Debtors do not owe any amounts to Baker Botts.

Baker Botts provides the following response to the request for additional information set forth in Paragraph D.1. of the Revised U.S. Trustee Guidelines:

Question: Did Baker Botts agree to any variations from, or alternatives to, Baker Botts’s standard billing arrangements for this engagement?

Answer: Yes. Baker Botts has preserved the 24% discount on its hourly rates that was provided to the Debtors prior to the Petition Date.

Question: Do any of the Baker Botts professionals in this engagement vary their rate based on the geographic location of the Debtors’ chapter 11 cases?

Answer: No.

Question: If Baker Botts has represented the Debtors in the 12 months prepetition, disclose Baker Botts’s billing rates and material financial terms for the prepetition engagement, including any adjustments during the 12 months prepetition.

Answer: Baker Botts has represented the Debtors in the past 12 months through the combination of hourly and flat fee arrangements. In particular, other than for certain ’34 Act securities matters (the ’34 Act Matters), since January 1, 2020 Baker Botts has represented the Debtors on an hourly basis at its standard billing rate, less a 24% discount. That discount is intended to be equivalent to the discount provided in prior years. For the ’34 Act Matters, Baker Botts has historically performed such services for the Debtors on a flat fee basis with the Debtors paying Baker Botts $25,000 per quarter. Baker Botts will perform all services for the Debtors moving forward on an hourly basis at its standard rates, less a 24% discount.

Question: If Baker Botts’s billing rates and material financial terms have changed post-petition, explain the difference and the reasons for the difference.

Answer: Baker Botts will perform all services for the Debtors moving forward on an hourly basis at its standard rates, less a 24% discount, including for the ’34 Act Matters.

Question: Have the Debtors approved Baker Botts’s budget and staffing plan, and, if so, for what budget period?

Answer: Baker Botts is developing a staffing plan and a 90-day fee estimate to reasonably comply with the U.S. Trustee’s guidelines, as to which Baker Botts reserves all rights. Baker Botts intends to continue to staff matters in an efficient manner, while providing quality service to the Debtors, as Baker Botts has done throughout the relationship of the parties. The Baker Botts attorneys primarily responsible for performing services to the Debtors in connection with these chapter 11 cases, subject to modification depending on further development, are set forth above. The Debtors have approved Baker Botts’s proposed hourly billing rates with respect to the work to be performed on the matters identified in the application.

David L. Emmons, a partner of Baker Botts L.L.P., disclosed in court filings that the firm is a “disinterested person” as defined in section 101(14) of the Bankruptcy Code.

The firm can be reached through:

David L. Emmons, Esq.
BAKER BOTTS L.L.P.
2001 Ross Avenue, Suite 900
Dallas, TX 75201-2980
Telephone: (214) 953-6500
Facsimile: (214) 953-6503
E-mail: david.emmons@bakerbotts.com

About Noble Corporation

Noble Corporation plc is an offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. It provides contract drilling services to the international oil and gas industry with its global fleet of mobile offshore drilling units. Noble Corporation focuses on a balanced, high-specification fleet of floating and jackup rigs and the deployment of its drilling rigs in oil and gas basins around the world.

On July 31, 2020, Noble Corporation and its affiliates filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Lead Case No. 20-33826). Richard B. Barker, chief financial officer, signed the petitions. Debtors disclosed total assets of $7,261,099,000 and total liabilities of $4,664,567,000 as of March 31, 2020.

Judge Marvin Isgur oversees the cases.

The Debtors tapped Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Porter Hedges LLP as legal counsel; Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P., McAughan Deaver PLLC, and Baker Botts L.L.P. as special counsel; AlixPartners, LLP as financial advisor; and Evercore Group LLC as investment banker. Epiq Corporate Restructuring, LLC is the claims and noticing agent.