Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) today announced that the second appraisal well at Gunflint successfully encountered 109 feet of net pay within the primary reservoir targets. Results of drilling, wireline logs and reservoir data have confirmed an estimated gross resource range of 65 to 90 million barrels of oil equivalent in the primary structure, which was in line with Company expectations. The Mississippi Canyon 992 #1 well, located one mile west of the original discovery well, was drilled to a total depth of approximately 32,800 feet in a water depth of 6,100 feet. Commercial hydrocarbons were not encountered in the deeper exploration objective. Additional exploration potential remains in an adjacent three-way structure to the north, a candidate for future exploration following development of the confirmed resources.
Once operations are completed, the well will be suspended for future use. The net cost of drilling the lower exploration zone was approximately $15 million, which will be expensed in the second quarter of 2013.
Susan Cunningham, Noble Energy's Senior Vice President Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Frontier Regions, commented, "Our appraisal program at Gunflint solidifies our plans for a subsea tieback development, with sanction planned for later this year. Along with our Big Bend discovery, we now have two major projects in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico targeting first production at the end of 2015. These developments represent significant value to our overall portfolio."
Noble Energy plans to move the drilling rig to Troubadour, a low-risk amplitude prospect offsetting the Big Bend discovery, over the next several weeks. The well is expected to reach total depth late in the third quarter.
Noble Energy operates Gunflint with a 31.14 percent working interest. Other partners in the project are Ecopetrol America Inc. with 31.50 percent, Marathon Oil Company with 18.23 percent and Samson Offshore, LLC with 19.13 percent.