Aseng field development sanctioned

The partners in block I and the Ministry of Mines, Industry, and Energy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea have sanctioned the development plan for the Aseng oil field. Production is scheduled to begin in mid 2012.

Offshore staff

STOCKHOLM-- The partners in block I and the Ministry of Mines, Industry, and Energy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea have sanctioned the development plan for the Aseng oil field. Production is scheduled to begin in mid 2012.

Formerly known as Benita, Aseng was originally discovered in 2007 as a gas-condensate field in block I offshore Equatorial Guinea. Subsequently, two appraisal wells were drilled in the structure with the first well identifying the oil resources and the second well determining reservoir limits. A development plan was submitted to the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in late 2008 and the plan has now been sanctioned.

Noble Energy will serve as technical operator of the development. Initial development of the field will include five subsea wells flowing to an FPSO. The oil will be stored on the vessel until sold, while the natural gas and water will be re-injected back into the reservoir to maintain pressure and maximize oil recoveries. The FPSO, to be located in approximately 3,100 ft of water, will be designed with capacity to handle 120,000 b/d of liquid, including 80,000 b/d of oil. In addition, the vessel will be capable of re-injecting 170 MMcf/d of natural gas. Storage on the vessel will be approximately 1.5 MMbbl of oil and condensate.

Total cost of development, excluding the cost of the FPSO, which will be leased, is estimated at $1.3 billion. The majority of this capital is to be invested in 2010 and 2011. First production from the field is estimated to start at 50,000 b/d of oil.

Over the life of the project, the operator expects to recover gross hydrocarbon liquids of approximately 100 to 120 MMbbl. In addition, there is an estimated 450 to 550 bcf of gas resources at Aseng that will be produced as part of an integrated gas project in the region once the pressure maintenance phase is completed.

Extensive engineering and design work has been done over the past year, the project team is in place, and all long lead items have been secured. The tender process for the FPSO and subsea equipment has been completed and the operator is preparing to award most of the major contracts, the partners say.

Noble has secured two rigs to support the development work at Aseng. The rig Atwood Hunter is scheduled to arrive in Equatorial Guinea in mid-2010. A letter of intent has been signed on a second rig, which is expected to be delivered in 1Q 2010.

07/22/2009

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