Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) today announced that it has acquired a 75 percent interest and operatorship of the PL001 License in the North Falkland Basin from Argos Resources Limited. The PL001 License covers an area of nearly 285,000 gross acres and is located to the northwest of the PL032 License, which includes the Sea Lion oil discovery. Edison International SpA has obtained the remaining 25 percent interest in the PL001 License. Noble Energy and Edison will provide to Argos a 5 percent royalty override from all hydrocarbon development on the license.
Noble Energy has identified the Rhea prospect as its initial target on the PL001 License. Rhea is a Cretaceous-aged stratigraphic trap prospect with multiple reservoir targets and total estimated gross mean unrisked resources in excess of 250 million barrels of oil. Water depth at the anticipated drilling location is approximately 1,550 feet, and the target total well depth is 8,760 feet. Rhea is anticipated to commence drilling in the third quarter of 2015 with Noble Energy's second slot on the 2015 Falkland Islands drilling campaign.
The Company's initial operated Falkland Islands prospect, Humpback, is now expected to commence drilling by early May 2015. Humpback, located in the South Falkland Basin, is the first of multiple stacked fan prospects clustered together in the Fitzroy sub-basin. Humpback has estimated gross mean unrisked resources of more than 250 million barrels of oil, with the cluster of prospects in the sub-basin totaling over one billion barrels of oil. The Humpback well, located in a water depth of approximately 4,170 feet, is targeted to be drilled to a total depth of 17,550 feet. Noble Energy's interest in the South Falkland Basin is 35 percent.
Susan M. Cunningham, Noble Energy's Executive VP of Exploration and New Ventures, stated, "The Rhea prospect diversifies our prospect inventory and upgrades our chance of overall success, without changing our total capital program for the year. This opportunity is in a proven petroleum system and is a strong complement to the vast number of remaining prospects on our acreage. Our Falkland Islands program, combined with our exploration well in Cameroon, give us the potential to discover substantial new resources through exploration this year."