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The deepwater Ticonderoga field, jointly owned by Kerr-McGee Corp. and Noble Energy Inc., achieved first production two weeks ago -- nearly two months ahead of schedule. Ticonderoga, operated by Kerr-McGee, holds an estimated 30-50 million boe and has reached peak production volumes of 20,000 bbl/d of oil and 15 MMcf/d of natural gas. Ticonderoga was discovered in April 2004 in the Gulf of Mexico's Green Canyon block 768 in 5,250 feet of water (see NGI, July 12, 2004). It consists of two subsea wells tied back to Kerr-McGee's 100%-owned Constitution spar located on Green Canyon block 680. The Constitution truss spar, a floating production facility, was originally modeled after Kerr-McGee's Gunnison spar located on Garden Banks block 668. However, following the discovery of Ticonderoga in April 2004, Constitution's capacity was expanded to accommodate the additional production. As a result, Constitution currently has the capacity to process 70,000 bbl/d and 200 MMcf/d -- an increase in oil capacity of 75% from its initial design. The spar is located in nearly 5,000 feet of water 190 miles south of New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon in Houston has given preliminary approval for three banks to pay $5.8 billion to settle civil claims they helped Enron Corp. manipulate earnings. So far, financial institutions involved in deals with Enron have agreed to pay $7.2 billion. Harmon is expected to give final approval to the settlements with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., according to William Lerach, who represents the University of California, the lead shareholder of about 50,000 Enron stockholders who filed claims in the actions against the banks. Last year, CIBC agreed to pay $2.4 billion, Chase agreed to pay $2.2 billion, and Citigroup agreed to pay $2 billion. The combined total of $5.8 billion has risen to $6.7 billion with interest, according to Lerach. Another $500 million in settlements already had been completed with Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Bank of America Corp., Andersen Worldwide, and 18 former outside Enron directors, including 10 who paid $13 million from their personal accounts after selling stock. Financial institutions that have not settled include Merrill Lynch & Co., Barclays PLC, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Deutsche Bank AG and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc.

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