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Noble Energy Closes Silvergate Well, Plans to Move to Katmai

Independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company, Noble Energy, Inc. NBL has provided an update on its drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The company has plugged and abandoned its Silvergate project in the region, after failing to find commercial deposits of oil & gas. Instead, it now plans to drill an appraisal well at its Katmai discovery.

The Silvergate exploration well was drilled on Mississippi Canyon Block 339 in 4,518 feet below the sea level. Noble Energy had started drilling activity in the Silvergate prospect in the fourth quarter of 2015 with 50% working interest.

Costs associated with the closed well will be reflected in first-quarter 2016 results. Failure to find commercial deposits could result in an increase in total exploration expenses to the higher end of earlier guidance of $130–$170 million for the first quarter.

With the completion of operations at Silvergate, Noble Energy will now move the rig to Green Canyon Block 39 and drill an appraisal well at the Katmai site, which was discovered in 2014.

The Katmai appraisal well was designed to test additional resource potential beyond the 40–60 million barrels equivalent per day (Mboe/d) discovered previously. Results from the Katmai appraisal well are expected in early fourth-quarter 2016. Potential development at Katmai may incorporate a subsea tie-back into the existing infrastructure. Noble Energy has a 38% working interest in the Katmai appraisal well.

Noble Energy’s steady focus on new discovery and asset diversification are expected to boost its performance. The company manages a diversified portfolio of domestic and international assets that offer high-return opportunities.

Noble Energy slashed its 2016 capital spending projection by roughly 50% to $1.5 billion to maintain its financial strength and flexibility. So far, the company has been able to trim costs through supplier negotiations and operational efficiencies. Reduced drilling costs are resulting in savings, which will enable it to drill a higher number of wells this year. Noble Energy expects to drill 115 wells in 2016.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Noble Energy currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some top-ranked peers in the same space include Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC VNR, Antero Resources Corporation AR and World Point Terminals, LP WPT, all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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NOBLE ENERGY (NBL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
VANGUARD NATURL (VNR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
WORLD POINT TER (WPT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ANTERO RESOURCE (AR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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