Additional appraisal work will be necessary to verify the areal extent of the Benita discovery. Any appraisal work will follow the drilling of an additional exploration well in Block "I". The company is currently carrying out a multi-well exploration and appraisal program designed to test a number of prospects in the region. The Songa Saturn drillship will next move back to Block "O" where it will drill a Belinda appraisal well located approximately 4.5 miles (7.25 kilometers) from the "O-1" discovery well. Current plans are to return to Block "I" in the third quarter of 2007 to drill the second exploration well. Noble Energy is the Technical Operator of Block "I" with a 40 percent participating interest. Its partners on the block include Atlas Petroleum International Limited (54 percent participating interest), who is the Administrative Operator, and Osborne Resources Limited, a company within the PA Resources Group (six percent participating interest). GEPetrol (the national oil company of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea) has a five percent carried interest once commerciality has been determined.
Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's Chairman, President and CEO, said, "Benita represents the first well ever drilled in Block "I" and complements our Belinda discovery in Block "O". While more drilling is needed to fully understand our resource potential in the area, we are encouraged by this new discovery and the potential commercial aspects of both blocks. We now have two discoveries with three wells drilled as we continue with our West Africa drilling program. Our next well, the Belinda appraisal well, will commence later this month."
The Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, H.E. Atanasio Ela Ntugu Nsa stated, "The Government of Equatorial Guinea is delighted that another discovery has been made in the Equatorial Guinea part of the Douala Basin. The Government believes that this new discovery further confirms the significant hydrocarbon potential of the Douala Basin and highlights the positive investment climate which currently exists within the Republic of Equatorial Guinea."
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