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New Eagle Ford Wells Help Noble Set Quarterly Sales Record in 2Q2016

Noble Energy Inc. said new wells targeting the Eagle Ford Shale helped boost expected sales volumes for 2Q2016 to approximately 425,000 boe/d, a new quarterly record for the Houston-based super independent.

In a statement, Noble said 2Q2016 production is more than 3% beyond the midpoint of the quarterly guidance range of 405,000-415,000 boe/d the company gave last May (see Shale DailyMay 6). The company said it planned to spend $350-400 million on capital expenditures (capex) in 2Q2016, but it was unclear what the actual capex costs for the quarter were.

"The outperformance was driven by continued strong operating performance and execution across the company," Noble said Thursday. "Significant contribution to the higher volumes resulted from new wells online in the Eagle Ford [Shale], including wells testing various lateral spacing and completion techniques."

Noble said its natural gas sales volumes to Israel were also higher than expected. The company attributed the increase to Israel's continuing displacement of coal by natural gas for power generation, as well as seasonally warmer weather than normal.

The company said it will host a webcast to discuss 2Q2016 results at 9:00 am CT on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

In May, Noble reported worldwide sales volumes of 416,000 boe/d in 1Q2016, a 31% increase over the previous first quarter. Meanwhile, total U.S. sales volumes increased more than one-third, from 201,000 boe/d in 1Q2015 to 306,000 boe/d in 1Q2016; production from the Eagle Ford and the Permian Basin averaged more than 60,000 boe/d during the latter.

During the conference call to discuss 1Q2016, Noble said it expected sales volumes for 2016 to come in about 4% higher than 2015 -- averaging 405,000 boe/d -- with U.S. volumes increasing due to improved productivity in the Denver-Julesburg Basin.

Noble said it had 48 drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells in Texas at the end of March -- 33 in the Eagle Ford and 15 in the Delaware Basin. NGI recently completed an in-depth special report about how onshore producers around the country are managing DUC inventories and how the drawdown may impact future production levels.

Last month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast that total natural gas production out of the Eagle Ford and the nation's six other largest unconventional plays -- the Bakken, Haynesville, Marcellus, Niobrara, Permian and Utica shales -- will be an estimated 45.75 Bcf/d in July, a 476 MMcf/d decline compared with an estimated 46.23 Bcf/d in June (see Shale DailyJune 13).

In its latest Drilling Productivity Report, the EIA predicted the Eagle Ford will experience the biggest decline in natural gas production in July. The agency said it projects production will be 6.11 Bcf/d this month, down 211 MMcf/d from 6.32 Bcf/d in June.

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