Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. has increased its crude oil takeaway capacity from the Permian Basin to South Texas with an additional five-year, firm sales agreement.

The contract provides for firm gross sales of at least 10,000 b/d beginning this month. Sales would increase in October to 20,000 b/d through the remainder of the agreement.

Crude oil sold under the agreement initially would use Noble’s existing firm transport capacity to Corpus Christi in South Texas. Soon after the Epic Crude Pipeline begins full service, Noble expects crude oil sales under the agreement to be transported by way of the firm transportation capacity.

Noble management in May had said it was finalizing takeaway agreements with Epic, which is building parallel crude oil and natural gas liquid (NGL) pipelines from the Permian to the Texas Coast.

Via Epic’s crude pipeline, Noble has secured 100,000 b/d of firm transportation capacity for 10 years following project startup, which is expected to be in the second half of 2019. Noble previously executed firm sales agreements to the Gulf Coast or Cushing markets for its Delaware sub-basin oil covering 10,000 b/d gross for the second half of 2018 and 5,000 b/d gross for 2019.

“Shortly following commencement of full service of the Epic Crude Pipeline, it is anticipated that crude oil sales under the agreement will be transported by way of the company’s firm transportation capacity,” Noble said.

Noble increased its 2018 production guidance in May after delivering first quarter volumes that were 18% higher year/year, with Permian-led oil output jumping 30%. Delaware sub-basin volumes climbed 85% year/year to 45,000 boe/d, weighted 69% to oil.

Epic’s 16-, 20-, 24-, and 30-inch diameter crude oil system is to traverse 730 miles from West Texas, with capacity to deliver up to 440,000 b/d of crude and condensate from the Delaware and Midland sub-basins.

The Epic Y Grade Pipeline LP, the NGL pipeline already underway, is to run 650 miles with capacity of at least 220,000 b/d. It links producer reserves in the Permian and Eagle Ford Shale to Texas Gulf Coast refiners, petrochemical companies and export markets.

Noble also updated its basis hedge position for the remainder of 2018 and 2019. For the second half of 2018, Noble has secured a total of 20,000 b/d of Midland-Cushing basis swaps at a price differential of $2.30/bbl. For 2019, the company has hedged 27,000 b/d of Midland-Cushing basis at a price differential of $3.23/bbl.