Noble Energy discovers oil and gas at Gulf of Mexico site

Noble Energy has discovered more oil and gas about 90 miles southeast of New Orleans in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, the company said Wednesday.

The Houston company’s Troubadour exploratory well, which is adjacent to its recent Big Bend discovery site, houses between 50 million and 100 million barrels of oil equivalent, and oil makes up about 75 percent of the well’s reserves.

“It’s a modestly encouraging data point,” said Stephen Simko, an analyst at Morningstar. “For the company, it’s not that huge. I don’t think it’s a needle mover.”

The company’s 2013 production guidance is between 270,000 to 282,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

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The Troubadour discovery, which sits in 7,273 feet of water, was drilled 19,510 feet deep after the company spud it in July. The company said it has a 60 percent interest in Troubadour and is looking to start production there toward the end of 2015. Noble also has a 54 percent interest in the Big Bend well, and  expects to begin production there in late 2015 or early 2016.

The company said W&T Energy VI and Deep Gulf Energy II both have a 20 percent stake in Troubadour.

Morningstar’s Simko added the company is more focused on its larger U.S. onshore resources in various shale plays. About 6 percent of the company’s $3.9 billion capital investment program will go to investing in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, compared to 60 percent going to the company’s onshore U.S. assets, which includes operations in the DJ Basin and Marcellus Shale.

But Noble expects the discovery, combined with earlier operations at Big Bend, to add “significant development opportunity” to its Gulf of Mexico business, Susan Cunningham, a senior vice president for Noble, said in a written statement.

Noble officials were not immediately available for comment.


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