Noble group adds Santiago find to Galapagos project

By OGJ editors
-- A Noble Energy Inc. group estimates a discovered resource of 130 million bbl of oil equivalent at its Galapagos project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, including the Santiago prospect where it announced a discovery May 31. About 75% of the discovered resource is oil.

Logs at Santiago, drilled to 18,920 ft in 6,500 ft of water on Mississippi Canyon Block 519, identified 60 ft of oil pay in a high-quality Miocene reservoir, Noble Energy said.

Santiago is the third discovery in the Galapagos project, where it joins Santa Cruz and Isabela. Noble Energy expects all three wells to be on production in early 2012. The company increased expected net production to Noble Energy from Galapagos to more than 10,000 b/d of oil.

Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, “The discovery at Santiago is a great way to resume our drilling program in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The well results were very consistent with our pre-drill expectations, and our teams did an outstanding job in the midst of a changing operating environment.”

Noble Energy in late February received industry’s first drilling permit after the deepwater gulf moratorium for Santiago, where drilling was suspended in June 2010. Drilling resumed in early April 2011 after multiple reviews of operating and response plans and third-party certifications of well designs and equipment.

The company is starting completion at Santiago using the Ensco 8501 semisubmersible. Completion is expected to take 2 months, after which the company plans to return to drilling the Deep Blue prospect at Green Canyon 723. Following Deep Blue, Noble Energy will spud an appraisal well at the Gunflint discovery at Mississippi Canyon 948.

Noble Energy operates Santiago with a 23.25% working interest. Other interest owners are Houston Energy LP with 10%, Red Willow Offshore LLC 20.25%, and BP Exploration & Production Inc., a subsidiary of BP America Inc., 46.5%.

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