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Noble Energy confirms 2015 exploration drilling plans for Falkland Islands

Oilfield Technology,

Noble Energy, Inc. has confirmed plans to resume exploration drilling in the Falkland Islands in 2015 following the acquisition and evaluation of an extensive 3D seismic programme over portions of the company's 10 million acre position. The company's initial operated prospect has been named Humpback and is located in the Fitzroy sub-basin of the Southern Area License.

Significant reservoir prospects

The Humpback prospect is one of multiple stacked fan prospects clustered together in the sub-basin. This group of prospects combined has an estimated gross unrisked resource potential of approximately 1 billion boe. The company anticipates drilling operations at Humpback to begin in mid-2015, dependent on rig arrival. Noble Energy is currently finalising prospect locations for a second exploration well, planned for later in 2015 following results at Humpback. Noble Energy operates its licenses offshore the Falkland Islands with a 35% working interest.

Results from recent 3D seismic acquisition

Mike Putnam, Noble Energy's Vice President of Exploration, said, "We are excited about our upcoming exploration programme in the Falkland Islands where we will be testing a basin with multibillion barrel potential. Our recent 3D seismic acquisition has confirmed our initial thoughts that the basin contains prospects of material size with ample follow on opportunities. The Falklands provides an opportunity to create another core area for Noble Energy through organic exploration success."

In addition, the Scotia well, which was drilled in 2012 utilising 2D seismic interpretation, has now been deemed non-commercial following evaluation of the 3D seismic data and full integration of well results into the company's geologic models. 

Exploration expense adjusted

Noble Energy has updated its guidance for third quarter 2014 exploration expense to between US$ 230 and US$ 240 million, including approximately US$ 75 million related to the Scotia well decision. Due to the increased exploration expense, the company expects its third quarter 2014 adjusted effective tax rate to be between 35 - 38%, with most of the tax provision representing current taxes.

Adapted from press release by Cecilia Rehn

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