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Noble Energy Hits Net Pay at Gunflint Well in U.S. Gulf of Mexico

Noble Energy, Inc. today announced that the second appraisal well at Gunflint well in the Gulf of Mexico, successfully encountered 109 feet of net pay within the primary reservoir targets.

Results of drilling, wireline logs and reservoir data have confirmed an estimated gross resource range(1) of 65 to 90 million barrels of oil equivalent in the primary structure, which was in line with Company expectations. The Mississippi Canyon 992 #1 well, located one mile west of the original discovery well, was drilled to a total depth of approximately 32,800 feet in a water depth of 6,100 feet. Commercial hydrocarbons were not encountered in the deeper exploration objective. Additional exploration potential remains in an adjacent three-way structure to the north, a candidate for future exploration following development of the confirmed resources.

Once operations are completed, the well will be suspended for future use. The net cost of drilling the lower exploration zone was approximately $15 million, which will be expensed in the second quarter of 2013.

Susan Cunningham, Noble Energy’s Senior Vice President Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Frontier Regions, commented, “Our appraisal program at Gunflint solidifies our plans for a subsea tieback development, with sanction planned for later this year. Along with our Big Bend discovery, we now have two major projects in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico targeting first production at the end of 2015. These developments represent significant value to our overall portfolio.”

Noble Energy plans to move the drilling rig to Troubadour, a low-risk amplitude prospect offsetting the Big Bend discovery, over the next several weeks. The well is expected to reach total depth late in the third quarter.

Noble Energy operates Gunflint with a 31.14 percent working interest. Other partners in the project are Ecopetrol America Inc. with 31.50 percent, Marathon Oil Company with 18.23 percent and Samson Offshore, LLC with 19.13 percent.

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BSEE: HWCG Capping Stack Successfully Tested

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), Noble Energy, Inc. and the Helix Well Containment Group (HWCG) announced Tuesday the successful completion of a full-scale deployment of critical well control equipment to assess Noble Energy’s ability to respond to a potential subsea blowout in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

BSEE Director James Watson confirmed that the HWCG capping stack deployed for the exercise met the pressurization requirements of the drill scenario, marking successful completion of the exercise.

The unannounced deployment drill, undertaken at the direction of BSEE, began April 30 to test the HWCG capping stack system – a 20-feet tall, 146,000-pound piece of equipment similar to the one that stopped the flow of oil from the Macondo well following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in 2010. During this exercise, the capping stack was deployed in more than 5,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. Once on site, the system was lowered to a simulated well head (a pre-set parking pile) on the ocean floor, connected to the well head, and pressurized to 8,400 pounds per square inch.

“Deployment drill exercises like this one are essential to supporting President Obama’s commitment to the safe and responsible development of offshore resources,” said Director Watson. “BSEE continually works to ensure that the oil and natural gas industry is prepared and ready to respond with the most effective equipment and response systems.”

BSEE engineers, inspectors and oil spill response specialists are evaluating the deployment operations and identifying lessons learned as the bureau continues efforts to improve safety and environmental protection across the offshore oil and natural gas industry.

“The quick and effective response to a deepwater well containment incident, demonstrated during the drill, was enabled by collaborative communication and planning between the industry and regulatory agencies with a focus on solutions-based outcomes,” said John Lewis, senior vice president of Noble Energy. “BSEE, the U.S. Coast Guard, Louisiana Offshore Coordinator’s Office and Noble Energy brought unique perspectives together in a Unified Command structure to achieve a shared goal. Through excellent coordination within the Incident Command System structure that included elevating the Source Control Chief to report directly to Unified Command, the dedication of hundreds of people and activation of the HWCG rapid response system, all objectives were met.”

“HWCG’s ability to quickly and effectively respond to a call from Noble Energy and every operator in our consortium is made possible by a combination of the mutual aid agreement committed to by each consortium member and the contracts we have in place for equipment that is staffed and working in the Gulf each day,” said Roger Scheuermann, HWCG Commercial Director. “Mutual aid enables members to draw upon the collective technical expertise, assets and resources of the group in the event of an incident. Utilizing staffed and working vessels, drilling and production equipment helps ensure there is no down time for staffing or testing equipment readiness in a crisis situation.”

In accordance with the plan, all 15 member companies were activated for this incident through the HWCG notification system.

For the safety of personnel and equipment, a Unified Command comprised of BSEE, the US Coast Guard, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinators Office and Noble Energy decided to temporarily hold operations May 2 and 3 due to rough weather over the Gulf of Mexico. The safety of personnel remained a top priority throughout the exercise.

Since the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010, BSEE has worked to implement the most aggressive and comprehensive offshore oil and gas regulatory reforms in the nation’s history. This deepwater containment drill tested one critical component of enhanced drilling safety requirements.

Press Release, May 8, 2013: Source

Noble Homer Ferrington to Drill Gabriella License Offshore Israel

Adira Energy Ltd. announces that Modiin Energy L.P, on behalf of the Gabriella License consortium, including Adira and Brownstone Energy, has executed a detailed drilling contract with Noble International Ltd (“Noble Drilling”). The Agreement provides for the drilling of the Gabriella License by the Noble Homer Ferrington semi-submersible rig prior to the government regulated spud date of June 30, 2013.

Jeffrey E. Walter, Chief Executive Officer of Adira Energy stated: “Another major milestone has been delivered to Adira’s shareholders with the signing of the Homer Ferrington rig contract. This will enable us to drill the highly anticipated Gabriella License which is Adira’s core asset. With over 110 million barrels of contingent oil resources, this project is important to Adira as well as a fundamental key in moving forward on the oil potential offshore Israel. The Homer Ferrington has drilled some of the most successful discovery wells in the Eastern Mediterranean including “Leviathan” offshore Israel and “Block 12” offshore Cyprus. ”

The Gabriella License is located approximately 10 kilometers northwest of Tel Aviv, in the waters offshore Israel. The block covers an area of approximately 392 square kilometers (97,000 acres) and is in water depths that range from 100 meters on the east side of the block to just over 425 meters on the southwest side of the block. Adira holds a 15% Working Interest in the Gabriella License plus a 15% back-in option from Modin Energy, to be exercised within six months of discovery, at cost.

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Noble’s New Drillship Enters Three-Year Contract in GoM

Noble Corporation announced that the Company has entered into a three-year term drilling contract with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for the Noble Bob Douglas, one of Noble’s new ultra-deepwater drillships currently under construction at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea. The drillship, which is being constructed on a fixed price basis, is expected to be utilized for operations primarily in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The Noble Bob Douglas is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2013. The contract is expected to commence thereafter following mobilization to an initial operating location and client acceptance. Revenues to be generated over the three-year term are expected to total approximately $677 million. The contract also provides for an operating cost escalation provision.

The Noble Bob Douglas is one of four ultra-deepwater drillships being constructed for Noble by HHI. All four drillships are based on a Hyundai Gusto P10000 hull design, capable of operations in water depths of up to 12,000 feet and offering a variable deck load of 20,000 metric tons. The Noble Bob Douglas will be delivered fully equipped to operate in up to 10,000 feet of water while offering DP-3 station keeping, two complete six-ram BOP systems, multiple parallel activity features that improve overall well construction efficiencies and accommodations for up to 210 personnel. The rig will also be equipped with a 165-ton heave compensated construction crane to facilitate deployment of subsea production equipment, providing another level of efficiency during field development programs.

With the award of this contract for the Noble Bob Douglas, two of the Company’s four ultra-deepwater drillships under construction at HHI are now under contract. The remaining two uncontracted drillships are scheduled to be delivered from the shipyard in 2014.

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UK: Nautronix to Supply Acoustic Positioning System for Noble’s New Drillship

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Nautronix have secured another order for the supply of their NASDrill RS925 deepwater acoustic positioning system for Noble Corporation’s fourth new ultra-deepwater drillship. In 2011, Nautronix was awarded the contracts for supplying their NASDrill RS925 system for Noble’s first three new drill ships.

All new vessels will be constructed at Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, Korea and will be based on a Hyundai Gusto P10000 design. The rigs will have DP-3 station keeping abilities and the capacity to handle two complete BOP systems allowing for operation in water depths of up to 12,000 feet.

Mark Patterson, Nautronix CEO, commented “This order further strengthens our relationship with Noble Corporation and I believe that it demonstrates their confidence in our NASDrill RS925 system”.

NASDrill RS925 has been designed specifically to meet the requirements for a reliable, stable DP and position reference system for demanding offshore operations, in particular deepwater drilling vessels.

The system combines the two most accurate deepwater acoustic positioning technologies – Short Baseline (SBL) and Long Baseline (LBL) – to calculate multiple independent position solutions providing reliable, repeatable input to the vessel DP system; with SBL mode providing accuracies of 0.15% slant range and LBL mode providing accuracies up to 1m RMS independent of water depth.

The NASDrill RS925 system is supplied with all external interfacing to the Dynamic Positioning System for automatic station keeping and can be used as part of an integrated acoustically-aided INS positioning solution.

The system is also fully upgradable to use NASeBOP and NASNet® (Nautronix unique underwater GPS).

As with all Nautronix leading commercial acoustic systems, NASDrill RS925 utilises Nautronix proprietary ADS² (Acoustic Digital Spread Spectrum) broadband signalling technology which has been proven, with over ten years of successful subsea operations, to provide superior accuracy, repeatability and reliability for dynamic positioning of vessels during deepwater drilling operations.

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Noble Energy Linking Noa and Pinnacles to Mari B Platform

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Noble Energy and Delek Group have started linking Noa and Pinnacles offshore natural gas fields to the Mari B production platform, according to the Israel’s financial newspaper Globes.

Helix ESG’s reeled pipelay vessel, Express, which in April arrived at the port city of Haifa, Israel has started SURF (Subsea Umbilicals, Risers and Flowlines) work.

According to the data on Noble Energy’s website, Noa will, once developed, provide 100 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of production by September 2012.

Development of the Noa field is geared to allow for additional supplies of natural gas to the Israeli market, until the start of natural gas supplies from the Tamar project.

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USA: EAB Rejects Appeals for Review of Shell’s Noble Discoverer OCS Air Permits

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Shell announced on its website that the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) denied all petitions for review of Shell’s Noble Discoverer OCS air permits.

As a result, Shell has, for the first time, usable air permits that will allow the Noble Discoverer to work in the Alaska OCS beginning in 2012.

“Achieving usable permits from the EPA is a very important step for Shell and one of the strongest indicators to date that we will be exploring our Beaufort and Chukchi leases in July. That our air permits for the Noble Discoverer withstood appeal is a testament to the robust nature of the work we have done to have the smallest possible impact on the Arctic air shed and further validates that Shell is a company uniquely-positioned to deliver a world-class drilling program in the Alaska offshore.  We look forward to continued progress on the permitting front and remain committed to working with regulators and stakeholders to achieve all of the permits necessary to drill in 2012.” reads Shell’s statement.

Wilderness Society Director, Lois Epstein, recently expressed her opinion in which she assumed that neither Alaskans, the Nation nor Shell is, “ready to drill safely in the Arctic.” Ms. Epstein signed-on to a letter that claims Shell should be denied Arctic air permits because emissions from their  drilling rigs and oil spill response fleet will accelerate global warming.

Pete Slaiby, Shell Alaska VP responded that “Shell has been arctic-ready for years”, saying that Shell and others have successfully drilled over 35 wells in the Alaska offshore without incident and that “Shell, alone, has dedicated more resources to Arctic science in the last five years than all Federal agencies combined.”

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Inauguration of Noble Globetrotter I at Schiendam, the Netherlands

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Noble Corp inaugurated the Noble Globetrotter I ultra-deepwater drillship at Huisman’s new production hall in Schiedam, the Netherlands, on 1 October. The drillship, which was designed around Huisman’s multipurpose tower (MPT), is on schedule to be delivered later this year. It will then mobilize to the US Gulf of Mexico under a 10-year contract with Shell.

The MPT, which is also featured on Noble’s Bully rigs, is a compact box-type drilling tower replacing the conventional derrick. It uses two revolving carousels, each with two pipe rackers, to allow the racking of 35,000 ft of tubulars to support both a drilling side and a construction side, where tubulars can be prepared. This system of hoisting/handling leaves the drill floor open, providing better visibility for the driller and better movement for the crews, according to Noble and Huisman.

Further, the engine room is placed forward, underneath the accommodations, freeing up space in the aft. Riser is stored below deck, and it’s a flat deck essentially from the accommodations to the stern of the ship.

“It’s a much cleaner layout. Walking across the drill floor, there’s nothing overhead. You can reach straight into the center of the rotary with a crane, which is spectacular from a drilling operational perspective,” said David Williams, Noble chairman, president and CEO. “We think it provides a lot of features that will improve safety and operational efficiency.”

The MPT also allows the Globetrotter I to be a smaller-sized vessel (620-ft length) than many other ultra-deepwater drillships, although it can still drill in up to 10,000 ft of water and wells up to 40,000 ft deep. “We’re not giving up any operational capability over much larger vessels,” Mr Williams said, adding that the installation of a heave-compensated crane means there’s a third load path – besides the construction and drilling sides of the MPT – for handling trees or umbilicals.

The Globetrotter I had its hull built by Korea-based STX Offshore & Shipbuilding at its new yard in Dalian, China, then sailed under its own power to Huisman’s quay in the Netherlands, arriving on 19 July this year. Huisman, which was responsible for the design and construction of the drilling equipment as well as the vessel concept design, installed the MPT on the rig on 6 August.

The multipurpose tower on the Noble Globetrotter I uses two revolving carousels to allow 35,000 ft of tubulars to be racked. There is a construction side and a separate drilling side for improved efficiency.

“For us this is a new market. It took us 10 years to find the right combination of people who were willing to take a step-change in technology,” said Joop Roodenburg, Huisman CEO. “We know it’s very difficult to do new things. That’s why it took a long time to get everybody aligned.”

The top section of the MPT can be lifted off with a crane so the vessel can sail through the Panama Canal, Suez Canal and the Bosphorus, Mr Roodenburg explained.

Besides the MPT, the drillship features DP3 stationkeeping capabilities, active heave-compensated dual drum drawworks, 2.4 million lbs of hookload and 2 million lbs of variable deck load. A low elevated drill floor – 5 meters above the main deck – draws the centers of gravity down and reduces sideways motions on the drill floor.

The rig will be equipped with a 18 ¾-in. 15,000-psi six-ram Shaffer NXT BOP system, although Mr Williams and Mr Roodenburg emphasize that the rig has enough deck space to accommodate a backup BOP stack. The decision to build in that redundancy would lie with Shell, however.

“We will continue to explore with Shell what their BOP requirements are going forward. The only rig so far that we have agreed to put second BOPs on are the first of the Hyundai ships,” Mr Williams said, referring to the four ultra-deepwater drillships that Noble has ordered with Hyundai Heavy Industries​ this year. The first of these four drillships is expected to be delivered in 2013 and has a Letter of Intent in place with Shell for a five and a half-year drilling contract.

After its hull was built in Dalian, China, the rig sailed to the Netherlands for installation and commissioning of the topside equipment earlier this year.

A second Globetrotter-class rig is also under construction with STX at its Dalian yard. As with Globetrotter I, the Globetrotter II will then be mobilized to Huisman in the Netherlands for installation and commissioning of the topside equipment. Globetrotter II also has a 10-year contract in place with Shell, and delivery is slated for 2013.

Original Article

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