Noble Energy Increases Stake in Swordfish Development

Noble Energy has acquired an additional interest from BP Exploration & Production, Inc. in the Swordfish development project (Viosca Knoll Blocks 917, 961 and 962) in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The company acquired all of BP Exploration & Production, Inc.'s 50 percent working interest, increasing Noble Energy's working interest in the Swordfish project from ten percent to 60 percent.

Charles Davidson, Noble Energy's Chairman, President and CEO, said, "The Swordfish project is an outstanding addition to Noble Energy's deepwater portfolio. Production from our deepwater program has been increasing rapidly in recent years. The acquisition of Swordfish, combined with our recent discovery at Ticonderoga and our acquisition of a larger interest at Lorien, will help ensure we see continued strong growth in our robust deepwater program."

Discovered in 2001, Swordfish is located in 4,500 feet of water. Two well penetrations found crude oil and natural gas pay in multiple, high-quality reservoirs. A semi-submersible drilling rig is scheduled to arrive on location in June 2004 to begin development drilling and completion operations, including the drilling of a third well. The development plan calls for the three wells to be connected to existing infrastructure through subsea tieback. Initial production is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2005 and to be in the range of 16 to 20 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day, gross.

Mariner Energy, Inc. has a working interest of 15 percent and is the operator. Burlington Resources Inc. (NYSE: BR) has a working interest of 25 percent. The acquisition of BP Exploration & Production, Inc.'s working interest in Swordfish by Noble Energy is subject to approval by the Minerals Management Service.

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