Noble Energy Makes Discovery on Block I Offshore Equatorial Guinea
Noble Energy has made a new discovery on Block "I" offshore Equatorial Guinea. Well "I-1", which was testing the Benita prospect, encountered an extremely high quality Miocene reservoir containing 135 feet (41.5 meters) of net hydrocarbon pay. Production tests from the well yielded flow rates of 1,038 barrels per day of condensate and 34.3 million cubic feet per day of natural gas, or approximately 6,755 barrels of oil equivalent per day (based upon a natural gas to crude oil conversion ratio of 6 to 1), with production rates limited by test facilities. The "I-1" well, located in 2,880 feet (886 meters) of water and approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Bioko Island, was drilled to a total depth of 10,460 feet (3,218 meters). It is approximately 13 miles (21 kilometers) south of the Belinda discovery, located in Block "O", which was announced in late 2005. With the installation of cooling and processing facilities, condensate yields can be increased. As expected, the reservoir section at the Benita discovery location is significantly thicker than at Belinda, which is also Miocene in age.
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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