Noble Seeks 'Solid Foundation' in Deepwater Exploration
Noble Energy's capital investment program is set at approximately $1.6 billion with 74% designated for development activities, 24% on exploration efforts and the remainder for corporate expenditures and other items. Development spending will focus on the company's extensive low-risk project inventory in the Rocky Mountain region, existing deepwater Gulf of Mexico discoveries and the expansion of producing assets in the North Sea and China. The exploration budget will focus on significant resource potential in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, Israel and Suriname.
"The goal of this year's investment program is to build upon the solid foundation we have established, focusing on the areas that have yielded our outstanding successes to date," said Charles D. Davidson, Noble's chairman, president and CEO. "A substantial amount of capital is allocated to exploration, which is almost entirely directed to high-impact prospects. Our disciplined investment approach is expected to once again generate free cash flow that should provide us flexibility to take advantage of incremental opportunities during the year."
The capital program should enable Noble to deliver sales volumes of 205 to 216 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2008. Using the midpoint of the estimate, this represents a 6% increase over 2007, or 7% after adjusting for the sale of Argentina assets. Volumes in the United States are anticipated to increase 5% largely driven by active drilling programs in the Wattenberg, Piceance and Niobrara areas in the Rocky Mountain region. International volumes are expected to be up 7% primarily due to a full year of natural gas sales from the Alba field to the LNG facility in Equatorial Guinea.
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