Noble Energy said on Thursday it would invest $3.9 billion in 2013 on an “aggressive” exploration and development program with emphasis on US onshore but also covering international and deepwater targets.
Of the budget, an increase from the $3.5 billion in 2012, 60% will be assigned to US land operations, 6% to the Gulf of Mexico, 15% to West Africa and 10% to the eastern Mediterranean.
Also on tap will be exploration ventures in Nevada, the Falklands and Nicaragua.
As a result, the company expects 2013 output to average between 270,000 and 282,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, a 23% increase in crude-oil and condensate production and 16% in natural gas compared to 2012 average volumes.
Noble is directing $1.7 billion to the US DJ (Denver Julesburg) basin in a 300-well horizontal drilling programme with Niobrara targets, among others.
Of the wells, 60 will "be extended-reach lateral wells focussed in the oil window of Wattenberg."
In the Marcellus shale, Noble plans to spend $750 million to tackle 140 joint-venture wells.
In the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the company plans a $250 million, one-rig programme for exploratory drilling at Gunflint.
In addition, Noble will spend $500 million in West Africa to bring online the Alen liquid development and for the appraisal of the Carla and Diega discoveries.
Eastern Mediterranean projects have a $400 million budget, where Noble expects final commissioning at Tamar to be completed by April and appraisal work and flow tests are in store at Leviathan discovery off Israel.
The company also said its fourth-quarter production would range between 252,000 and 256,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, beating the upper end of prior guidance by 4,000 boepd.
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