Noble Energy Announces Highlights of 2010 Analyst Meeting Including Five-Year Production, Reserves, and Capital Outlook

Jun 02, 2010, 21:30 ET from Noble Energy, Inc.

HOUSTON, June 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announced today the highlights of its 2010 analyst meeting with senior management to be held June 3 in Houston, Texas.  Key highlights from the meeting include:

  • Projected annual production growth of 10 percent compounded annually over the next five years, leading to 350 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBoe/d) in 2015
  • Total proven reserves projected to be 1.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBoe) by the beginning of 2015, a 14 percent compounded annual growth from year-end 2009
  • Five major projects to deliver over 100 MBoe/d and $1 billion in free cash flow(1) in 2015, net to Noble Energy, with an after-tax net present value of over $4 billion
  • Capital spending expected to average $2.6 billion per year over the next five years
  • A 60 percent increase from 2008 in the Company's global unrisked resource portfolio, which now totals 8.4 BBoe
  • Total resources at Tamar, offshore Israel, increased to 8.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) gross, up 33 percent from the Company's prior estimate
  • Multiple additional prospects and leads identified on the Company's Eastern Mediterranean acreage, with gross unrisked resource potential greater than 30 Tcf
  • Plans to drill Leviathan, a 16 Tcf gross prospect offshore Israel with a 50 percent geologic chance of success, later this year
  • An agreement  to sell certain non-core U.S. onshore assets, representing 5,700 Boe/d and 29 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBoe) of reserves, for approximately $550 million

Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's Chairman and CEO said, "Our analyst meeting will highlight the strong depth and diversity of our portfolio of opportunities, which have continued to expand rapidly.  Driven by exploration discoveries over the past five years that total nearly a billion barrels of oil equivalent, we have a large inventory of major projects under development that will provide material future growth for our company. In addition, our global portfolio of future exploration and development opportunities gives us even greater confidence in our ability to sustain strong growth moving forward. We continue to be excited about our future and for the potential to deliver significant incremental value to our investors."

United States Onshore

The Company has continued to expand its onshore resource base, with the footprint now exceeding 2.5 million net acres and nearly 1.6 BBoe of net risked resource potential.  With an extensive lower-risk development inventory, Noble Energy estimates its U.S. onshore asset base has the capacity to grow production over 50 percent from 2009 to 2015.

The Company has built a premier acreage position in the central DJ Basin of over 750,000 net acres and estimates total net unrisked potential of over 1 BBoe (360 MMBoe risked) in the emerging horizontal Niobrara play.  Noble Energy's early horizontal Niobrara drilling results within Wattenberg have been very positive and include the Gemini well, which represents the industry's best well to date in the field.  Results from the Company's first four horizontal Niobrara wells in Wattenberg indicate strong projected returns with early estimates of ultimate recoveries being approximately seven times those of a typical vertical Wattenberg well.  

In addition, the Company has entered into an agreement to divest certain mature properties representing approximately 5,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day for approximately $550 million.  These higher-cost Midcontinent and Illinois-basin assets represent approximately 29 MMBoe of reserves.  The sale is expected to close in the third quarter with actual proceeds to reflect final closing cost adjustments from the effective date of April 1.

Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

The recent moratorium on deepwater drilling has no impact on the Company's current production and reserves.  Noble Energy is investigating options to reschedule its drilling operations when activity in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico resumes in order to minimize project impacts.  In the meantime, the Company will consider reallocating near-term Gulf of Mexico drilling capital to other opportunities.

The Company has updated total gross resources at the Galapagos development to be 130 MMBoe, with an additional 130 gross MMBoe of resources potentially available from upside recoveries and nearby exploration opportunities.  Initial production estimates, net to Noble Energy, are six to eight MBoe/d, with the potential to grow to 10 to 16 MBoe/d, based on increased recoveries.  

At the Deep Blue exploration prospect, Noble Energy announced that potential gross resources now range from 90 to 200 MMBoe.  The geologic chance of success at Deep Blue has been increased to 50 percent, as a result of encountering hydrocarbons in the initial well.  The Company also provided an updated resource range for Gunflint, now ranging from 70 to 500 MMBoe gross, dependent on the results of appraisal drilling.  

The Company announced that its attractive prospect inventory in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico now includes over 40 prospects and 2 BBoe of net unrisked resource potential (550 MMBoe risked).

Eastern Mediterranean

In Israel, the Company updated its continued progress on the Tamar project, including securing a large portion of the services and supplies required for development, as well as furthering the discussions with local and federal authorities to finalize the onshore receiving terminal location.  The Tamar project remains on schedule for sanction in 2010 and first production in 2012.  Gross recoverable resources at Tamar have been increased by 33 percent to 8.4 Tcf of gross natural gas as a result of updated reservoir studies.  In total, Noble Energy's discoveries represent approximately 35 years of Israel's natural gas needs at projected 2012 demand rates.  The capital investment for Tamar is estimated at $2.8 billion gross.

Noble Energy announced the Leviathan prospect as its next planned exploration target in the region, to spud in the fourth quarter 2010.  Leviathan, offshore Israel in the Rachel and Amit licenses, has gross unrisked mean resources of 16 Tcf of natural gas and a geologic chance of success of 50 percent.  Leviathan is operated by Noble Energy with an approximate 40 percent working interest.  Based on its initial interpretation of 2D and 3D seismic data, the Company has estimated the gross unrisked resource potential on its Eastern Mediterranean acreage to be in excess of 30 Tcf.

West Africa

Development drilling at the Aseng oil project in Equatorial Guinea is progressing and has resulted in total estimated field resources increasing to 220 MMBoe gross, 60 percent of which are liquids.  Aseng remains on budget and on schedule for first production in 2012.  At the Company's Alen discovery (formerly known as Belinda), front-end engineering and design work for the gas-cycling project has commenced with sanction planned for late 2010.  The Company provided an updated Alen resource estimate of 247 MMBoe gross, with 40 percent being liquids.  The initial production estimate for Alen is 30 MBbl/d gross (15 MBbl/d net), beginning at the end of 2013.  Combined, Aseng and Alen are expected to produce up to 30 MBbl/d of liquids, net to Noble Energy, in 2014.

Analyst Meeting Webcast

Noble Energy's 2010 analyst meeting will be available via webcast at 8 a.m. Central Time, June 3, 2010, on the 'Investors' page of the Company's website at  A replay of the webcast will be available on the website until September 3, 2010.  

Noble Energy is a leading independent energy company engaged in worldwide oil and gas exploration and production.  The Company operates primarily in the Rocky Mountains, Mid-Continent, and deepwater Gulf of Mexico areas in the United States, with significant international operations offshore Israel and West Africa.  Noble Energy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is traded under the ticker symbol NBL.  Visit Noble Energy online at

(1) Free cash flow is a non-GAAP financial measure intended to help facilitate comparison of company operating performance across periods and with peer companies.  This forecast primarily reflects expected cash to be provided by operating activities (a GAAP measure) less capital investments.

This news release includes projections and other "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Such projections and statements reflect Noble Energy's current views about future events and financial performance. No assurances can be given that such events or performance will occur as projected, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected include, without limitation, the volatility in commodity prices for crude oil and natural gas, the presence or recoverability of estimated reserves, the ability to replace reserves, environmental risks, drilling and operating risks, exploration and development risks, competition, government regulation or other action, the ability of management to execute its plans to meet its goals and other risks inherent in Noble Energy's business that are detailed in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Words such as "anticipates," "believes," "expects," "intends," "will," "should," "may," and similar expressions may be used to identify forward-looking statements. Noble Energy assumes no obligation and expressly disclaims any duty to update the information contained herein except as required by law.

The Securities and Exchange Commission permits oil and gas companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose proved reserves that a company has demonstrated by actual production or conclusive formation tests to be economically and legally producible under existing economic and operating conditions. Beginning with year-end reserves for 2009, the SEC permits the optional disclosure of probable and possible reserves.  We have elected not to disclose the Company's probable and possible reserves in our filings with the SEC. We use certain terms in this news release, such as "total resources," and "resource potential" that the SEC's guidelines strictly prohibit us from including in filings with the SEC. Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosures and risk factors in our Forms 10-K and 10-Q, File No. 1-07964, available from Noble Energy's offices or website, These forms can also be obtained from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330.  

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SOURCE Noble Energy, Inc.