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Noble Energy's success in E.G. isn't just a matter of luck

Article - September 25, 2012
The oil company with the most longstanding presence in Equatorial Guinea is also the one with the highest success rate. Experts in oil and gas exploration and production, Noble Energy has invested wisely, generated returns for its stakeholders, and demonstrated to the Equatorial Guinean government its ability to operate safely and responsibly while at the same time creating value for the people
RICH PACES, VICE PRESIDENT OF NOBLE ENERGY E.G. LTD.
Noble Energy first entered the West African nation in 1990 when it took a 34% working interest in the Alba field, a prolific gas condensate reservoir north of Bioko Island. Today, Noble Energy also operates under production sharing contracts for Block O and Block I, and has great success in the Aseng oil and gas field and the Alen gas and condensate field, among others.

“There has been quite a lot of exploration activity in E.G., but other than Noble Energy, little recent success.”

“Using our calling card of success we hope we’re able to expand our footprint in E.G. and possibly pick up some additional exploration blocks.”

Rich paces
Vice President of Noble
Energy E.G. Ltd.

“There has been quite a lot of exploration activity in E.G., but other than Noble Energy, very few operators have had any recent success,” says Rich Paces, Vice President of Noble Energy E.G. Ltd. “So we feel proud of our achievements here: 11 out of 12 exploration and appraisal wells found hydrocarbons. Our knowledge of the Douala Basin and its potential has made a difference, as has our considerable experience exploring and operating in this area. And those are the keys to unlocking the hydrocarbon potential that lies within.”

The U.S.-based company has operations throughout the world, and Mr. Paces says that the Equatoguinean government has been supportive of the safe development of its oil and gas resources, particularly when operators pair that development with commitments to help the government achieve its goals of bringing meaningful economic and social growth to Equatorial Guinea – such as has been the case with Noble Energy.

“The Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy works with the industry to not only ensure that operational best practices are adopted, but to see that resource development also means positive development for the people of Equatorial Guinea And as a result of that, the government works to ensure that approvals are both comprehensive and timely,” says Mr. Paces.

Noble Energy's successes in the country include the Aseng field, which the company impressively delivered seven months ahead of schedule and 13% under budget and that is currently producing at 60,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). Additionally, the Alen field, expected to come online in 2013, will contribute an additional 37,000 bpd. The recently discovered Carla field is scheduled to be appraised later this year, and the company has no plans of stopping there. 

“By building on our successes here, we're hopeful that we can expand our presence in E.G. and possibly pick up some additional exploration blocks,” says the VP.

Not only is Noble Energy renowned for its nearly uncanny ability to discover fruitful fields, it also enjoys one of the best safety records in the industry. And with an eye toward bringing enhanced operational safety to the entire offshore oil and gas industry, the company recently took a closer look at where safety could be advanced through the use of innovation and new technology.

“After the BP Macondo incident in the Gulf of Mexico, we took a serious look at how our engineers designed our wells and how we drilled them,” explains Mr. Paces.

“Although we were safely and effectively designing and conducting our drilling operations, we decided to add additional design processes, pressure barriers and testing. This wasn’t just to further ensure safety, but to identify safety advancements – in the area of containment and response plans, for example – that the industry as a whole could benefit from.”

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