Noble Energy, Inc. announced flow test results from the Benita oil appraisal well in Block "I" offshore Equatorial Guinea. As previously announced, the 'I-5' well encountered approximately 42 feet (13 meters) of net oil pay, defined the water-oil contact, and moved the lowest known oil down structure approximately 28 feet (9 meters). Test results from this high-quality Miocene reservoir yielded flow rates of 6,250 barrels of oil per day and 5.4 million cubic feet per day of natural gas, with production rates limited by test equipment. Based on test information gathered, the Benita development wells are anticipated to produce approximately 10 thousand barrels of oil per day. Samples taken indicated a crude oil gravity of 30 degrees.
"We are very encouraged with the results from the Benita downdip oil appraisal," said Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's Chairman, President and CEO. "Flow tests have confirmed our initial expectations that Benita could produce at a rate of 50 thousand barrels of oil per day from just five wells. We are moving forward with the engineering and production studies to submit a plan of development by the end of the year, with hopes to sanction the project in 2009. Our target for first production from Benita remains 2012."
The Sedco 700 deepwater rig is preparing to drill the Diega prospect, an additional Miocene target approximately 5.5 miles north of Benita on Block "I". Diega, located in 2,165 feet (660 meters) of water with a proposed well depth of 10,500 feet (3200 meters), has a gross resource potential of between 20 and 80 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Noble Energy is the Technical Operator of Block "I" with a 40% participating interest. Its partners on the block include Atlas Petroleum International Limited (29% participating interest), who is the Administrative Operator, Glencore Exploration Ltd. (25% participating interest) and Osborne Resources Limited, a company within the PA Resources Group (6% participating interest). GEPetrol (the national oil company of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea) has a 5% carried interest once commerciality has been determined.
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