Noble's 2012 spending plans emphasize Niobrara, Marcellus drilling

By OGJ editors

Noble Energy Inc. plans to invest $1.25 billion in the Denver-Julesburg basin to expand its Niobrara horizontal drilling program and to spend $500 million in the Marcellus shale this year as part of a $3.5 billion budget that the company outlined for 2012.

The capital program allocates 51% to onshore US, 7% to deepwater Gulf of Mexico, 22% to the Eastern Mediterranean and 14% to West Africa. Global exploration and appraisal activity is expected to receive 16%.

Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy chairman and chief executive officer, said developments in the Niobrara and Marcellus continue to gain momentum and are expected to deliver consistent growth for years (OGJ Online, Nov. 15, 2011).

“Exploration remains a key component of the 2012 program as we plan to test a number of prospects throughout our focus areas,” Davidson said.

Noble Energy plans to drill 173 horizontal wells and to maintain an active vertical well program in Wattenberg in 2012.

In the Marcellus shale where it has a joint venture with Consol Energy Inc., Nobel plans to support the drilling of 99 wells, targeting 39 operated wells in the liquids-rich area of the play (OGJ Online, Aug. 18, 2011).

In the deepwater gulf, Noble Energy expects to spend $250 million. Noble Energy's core international programs in West Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean represent $500 million and $750 million, respectively. Capital also was allocated to China, the North Sea, and several new venture opportunities.

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