HOUSTON -- Noble Energy Inc. has discovered hydrocarbons on block I offshore Equatorial Guinea. Well I-1, which was testing the Benita prospect, encountered an extremely high quality Miocene reservoir containing 41.5 m (135 ft) of net hydrocarbon pay. Production tests from the well yielded flow rates of 1,038 b/d of condensate and 34.3 MMcf/d of natural gas (approximately 6,755 boe/d), with production rates limited by test facilities.
The I-1 well lies in 886 m (2,880 ft) of water approximately 40 km (25 mi) east of Bioko Island. It was drilled to a TD of 3,218 m (10,460 ft).
The well is approximately 21 km (13 mi) south of the Belinda discovery on block O, which was announced in late 2005.
Noble says additional appraisal work will be necessary to verify the areal extent of the Benita discovery. The work will follow an additional exploration well in block I.
The company is carrying out a multi-well exploration and appraisal program designed to test a number of prospects in the region. TheSonga Saturn drillship was scheduled to move to block O to drill an appraisal well on Belinda, approximately 7.25 km (4.5 m) from the O-1 discovery well. The vessel is to return to block I in 3Q 2007 to drill a second exploration well.
Noble Energy is Technical Operator of block I with 40 % participating interest.
Partners include Atlas Petroleum International Ltd., Administrative Operator, with 54% interest, and Osborne Resources Ltd. with 6% interest. GEPetrol, the national oil company of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, has 5% carried interest once commerciality has been determined.
"Benita represents the first well ever drilled in block I and complements our Belinda discovery in block O," says Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy chairman, president and CEO. "While more drilling is needed to fully understand our resource potential in the area, we are encouraged by this new discovery and the potential commercial aspects of both blocks. We now have two discoveries with three wells drilled as we continue with our West Africa drilling program. Our next well, the Belinda appraisal well, will commence later this month."