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Noble Energy, Inc. ( NBL - Analyst Report ) has entered into an agreement, worth $127 million, with Maersk Oil North Sea Limited, a unit of A.P. Moller – Maersk Group, to sell its Dumbarton and Lochranza assets based in the UK North Sea. Per the contract, the company is expected to sell its 30% non-operated working interest to Maersk Oil and complete this transaction by third quarter of 2012.
Noble Energy had started its operations in the North Sea including offshore Netherlands and UK in 1996. Dumbarton is situated in 140 meters (459.3 feets) of water, 225 kilometers (139.8 miles) north east of Aberdeen, Scotland. During 2009, the first well at the nearby Lochranza field was attached to Dumbarton. The company produced first oil from its Dumbarton field in January 2007.
Maersk Oil North Sea is an old ally of Noble Energy. Both the companies jointly operated Dumbarton and Lochranza fields, with a working interest of 70% and 30%, respectively.
At the end of fiscal 2011, Noble Energy had total proved oil and natural gas reserves of 1,209 million barrels of oil equivalent (“Boe”). The net proved reserves at Dumbarton and Lochranza were 5.6 million Boe at the end of fiscal 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, these assets generated 4,400 Boe per day. Since January 2007, the companies have produced 17 million Boe from the Dumbarton field through the Floating Producing Storage and Offloading vessels (“FPSO”) Global Producer 3.
In fiscal 2012, the company intends to invest $3.5 billion as part of its Capital Investment Program. At present, Noble Energy is focusing on its core operating areas, the DJ Basin in Colorado, Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Eastern Mediterranean and West Africa. The company is planning to reallocate the net proceeds of the divestitures to develop and upgrade its higher growth projects. The company also intends to sell its non-core U.S. onshore properties and other North Sea assets.
We believe that Noble Energy’s U.S. onshore operations are well positioned to bring consistent and predictable results in the near term. The company has strong exposure to oil and natural gas prospects along with a diversified portfolio including several lower-risk development projects in the DJ Basin and the Marcellus Shale. These areas are expected to provide repetitive reinvestment opportunities with substantial inventory and sustainable returns.
Noble Energy, Inc. currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating.
Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy, Inc. operates internationally and engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, and marketing of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. The company competes with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation ( APC - Analyst Report ) .
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