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Noble Energy Wins First US Deep-Water Drilling Permit

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 2/28/2011, Location: North America

Noble Energy, Inc. announced that it has received an approved permit to resume drilling at the Santiago prospect in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Well operations were suspended in June 2010 as a result of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium. Santiago is a middle Miocene amplitude prospect on Mississippi Canyon Block 519. Noble Energy is the operator with a 23.25 percent working interest.

Located in 6,500 feet of water, the Santiago exploration well had previously drilled to a depth of 13,585 feet at the time of the moratorium. Drilling operations are anticipated to resume in late March 2011, targeting total drilling depth of approximately 19,000 feet. Results are expected by the end of May 2011. The Ensco 8501 rig, which performed completion operations on the Santa Cruz and Isabela discoveries at the Galapagos project during the second half of 2010, will perform the drilling at Santiago.

David L. Stover, Noble Energy's President and COO, said, "Over the past several months, Noble Energy has worked with a number of operators and service providers to enhance the safety of deepwater drilling operations, including the implementation of third party certification of well designs and BOP testing. Our partnership with others in the Helix Well Containment Group has increased the deepwater Gulf subsea control and containment capabilities. The industry has improved its ability to respond to surface spills as well. This is the first permit issued to resume drilling activities at a well suspended during the moratorium. Noble Energy is proud to help lead the industry back to drilling in the deepwater Gulf."

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