Noble Energy, Inc., at its annual analyst meeting, will provide updated guidance and global resource estimates. Noble Energy's total sales volumes for 2008 are now estimated to average between 210 and 220 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBoepd). Using the midpoint of the new guidance, this represents a 2% increase from the original estimate's midpoint of 210 MBoepd and a 9% increase from 2007 after adjusting for the Argentina asset sale. The incremental volumes over prior guidance are primarily related to better than expected performance from deepwater Gulf of Mexico development projects, enhanced growth in the Rocky Mountains, as well as the impact of the accelerated development of phase two at Dumbarton in the North Sea and increased natural gas sales in Israel.
Noble Energy also confirmed its 6-10% annual compounded organic growth target through 2012. There will be minimal production impact during this period from its West Africa discoveries, which are expected to begin production within the 2012 to 2014 timeframe. Capital requirements through 2012 will average approximately $2 billion per year, which includes the Company's updated 2008 capital budget and anticipated development spending for its West Africa discoveries.
Accompanying the change in production guidance, Noble Energy is adjusting several of its cost estimates for 2008. Estimated oil and gas lease operating expenses were lowered to range from $4.20 per barrel of oil equivalent (Boe) to $4.70 per Boe, down from $4.30 to $4.80 per Boe. Depreciation, depletion, and amortization expense is now estimated to range from $10.30 per Boe to $10.90 per Boe, down from $10.40 to $11 per Boe. Other guidance changes, primarily interest expense and taxes, are included in more detail at the end of this news release.
The Company estimates that its net unrisked resource potential has increased approximately 70 percent from its 2007 estimate to 5.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The increase comes from the combination of an increased exploration portfolio and expanded resource development programs.
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