Noble Energy Inc. plans to spend $3.9 billion on capital expenditures (capex) in 2013, almost half of which is to go toward drilling horizontal wells in the Niobrara-Denver Julesburg (DJ) Basin.
Houston-based Noble plans to invest $1.7 billion and would use an average of nine rigs to drill 300 wells in the DJ Basin, about 90 of which would be in northern Colorado. Another 60 wells would be drilled with extended-reach laterals targeting the oil window of Wattenberg Field. The company said current production is almost 90 Mboe/d, with 60% natural gas liquids (NGL). Noble expects to exit 2013 at more than 110,000 boe/d.
The company now estimates net recoverable resources in the DJ Basin are 2.1 billion boe, a 60% increase over what it estimated last year (see NGI, Nov. 21, 2011). It said it has identified 9,500 horizontal well locations and plans to drill more than 500 wells per year by 2017.
Noble is the second largest acreage holder in the Niobrara-DJ Basin with 860,000 net acres, trailing only Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (900,000 net acres), according to company reports analyzed by NGI. Rounding out the top five are EOG Resources Inc. (220,000 net acres), Marathon Oil Corp. (151,000 net acres) and Chesapeake Energy Corp. (147,000 net acres).
In the Marcellus Shale, Noble plans to spend $750 million to support drilling 140 wells with joint venture partner Consol Energy Inc. (see NGI, Aug. 29, 2011). The investment would target 85 operated wells in liquids-rich areas. Noble said the rig count in the wet gas areas would increase to six, while two rigs would continue to work in the dry gas areas.
Noble also said it is focused on a 270-well development program in the wet gas area of the Marcellus around Majorsville, WV, where initial test results indicate better than expected liquids content and production rates.
The contribution of condensate and NGL in the West Virginia area results in a realized price of more than $7.00/Mcf at the wellhead, according to the company. Noble now is delineating a second development area in the Marcellus in the Normantown area, with more than 200 planned well locations.
For 2013, Noble said total production volume should average 270,000-282,000 boe/d, which includes 63,000-71,000 b/d of crude oil and condensate, 435-480 MMcf/d of natural gas and 14,000-16,000 b/d of NGL.
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