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Responsible and sustainable development with Noble Energy

Article - August 5, 2014
The Houston-based oil company has been operating in Equatorial Guinea since the beginning of the oil boom
The Houston-based, independent American oil and gas company Noble Energy has been active in Equatorial Guinea since the beginning of the 1990s “oil-rush”, which transformed this small West African nation into what some now call “the Kuwait of Africa”. Indeed, it was one of the first to operate there, and West Africa now represents one of its five core areas of operation and development, along with the DJ Basin (onshore United States), the Marcellus Shale (onshore United States), the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (offshore United States), and offshore Eastern Mediterranean.

“Equatorial Guinea is the company’s longest-running international business,” says Gene Kornegay, Vice President and Country Manager at Noble Energy. “We are the only oil and natural gas company that has maintained a continuous presence in the country for more than 20 years, making significant investments over this period. We are proud of our history of responsible and sustainable development of energy resources here.”

Noble Energy’s operations in the West African oil-rich country are all offshore and include the Alba, Aseng and Alen fields. In 2013 the company produced 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Production activities began with Noble’s 34% working interest in the Alba field. In addition to natural gas and crude oil production, related operations include an LPG processing plant where liquids are recovered, and a methanol plant. “We are actively engaged in additional development programs offshore Equatorial Guinea, with operated working interests of 45% in Block O and 40% in Block I,” says Mr. Kornegay. “Over the last few years, we have achieved tremendous exploration success in the region, discovering multiple oil and gas-condensate reservoirs, and major project developments.”

“We have achieved tremendous exploration success in the region”

Gene Kornegay, Vice President and Country Manager for Noble Energy
The first hydrocarbon production in Equatorial Guinea was achieved by stripping condensate from the Alba field, a discovery that the company qualifies as “world class”. Afterwards, Noble Energy and its partners further monetized Alba natural gas by successfully implementing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a methanol recovery plant. Today, Alba is the sole source for natural gas supply to power generation facilities that provide all public electricity on the island of Malabo.

In 2009, the Aseng oil project (formerly Benita) in Block I was sanctioned and brought to production in November 2011, seven months ahead of schedule. “The challenge was to develop this oil discovery in a basin with no existing infrastructure, so we rose to the occasion and installed Aseng – a floating production, storage and offloading unit (FPSO) near Bioko Island,” explains Noble Energy’s Vice President.

“Our major project development success continued with Alen, a condensate gas-cycling project (formerly known as Belinda) sanctioned in 2010, which commenced production late in the second quarter of 2013,” he adds. Last year, production from this field reached 28,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), and output is expected to grow to between 30,000 and 35,000 bpd this year.”

Now the company is looking to develop another field, Diega. “The availability of Aseng for storage and offloading Alen condensate delivered significant cost savings, which may be repeated as we develop other projects in the area such as Diega,” says Mr. Kornegay. “Diega appraisal work in 2013 delivered positive results. A successful flow test confirmed reservoir continuity and quality. We plan to sanction Diega in 2014, with first oil production expected in 2017. And we continue to evaluate other resources and opportunities in the area for tie in.”

Building on its longstanding and successful presence in Equatorial Guinea, Noble Energy is determined to grow its operations there. “In West Africa, we have a unique blend of experience, competency and accomplishments,” says Mr. Kornegay.

“We’ve demonstrated an ability to commercialize new basins. We built an infrastructure base in Equatorial Guinea that facilitates future bolt-on projects. And we developed expertise that, when combined with strong partner-government relationships, gives us a competitive advantage in this region that we consider to be underexplored.”