Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) today announced that it has reached an agreement with BP Exploration & Production Inc. to acquire 50 percent of BP's interest in 17 deepwater exploration leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Each of the leases resides in the Atwater Valley protraction area, with Noble Energy acquiring a 50 percent working interest in 13 leases and an average 26 percent working interest in four leases.
As part of the transaction, Noble Energy is participating with a 50 percent working interest in the Bright prospect, which is currently drilling on Atwater Valley Block 362 in a water depth of approximately 5,600 feet. The initial well, targeting multiple Upper and Middle Miocene reservoirs, is anticipated to be drilled to a total depth of 13,500 feet. The Company's total estimated gross unrisked resource range (P75 - P25) for the Bright prospect is 90 to 350 million barrels of oil equivalent. In addition to the Bright prospect, there are multiple follow-on exploration opportunities that have been identified on these newly acquired leases.
Susan M. Cunningham, Senior Vice President, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, and Frontier, said, "The deepwater Gulf of Mexico is one of Noble Energy's core areas and today we have expanded our opportunity set there through the successful capture of a number of attractive and sizeable prospects. We have multiple opportunities for substantial hydrocarbon discovery in the near-term, with the Katmai prospect results expected by our second quarter earnings call and the Bright prospect anticipated to be at total depth by the end of the third quarter. In addition to our exploration programs, we are also currently drilling a second well at Dantzler as we progress multiple major projects toward first production."