Crude Oil ( ) Brent Crude ( ) Natural Gas ( ) S&P 500 ( ) PHLX Oil ( )

Houston, Oct. 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announced today that the Big Bend oil development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico commenced production on October 26, 2015. The single-well field is ramping as expected and is anticipated to reach a maximum gross production rate of approximately 20 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBoe/d) over the next couple of weeks. Approximately 90 percent of the volumes being produced are oil. In addition, the Company has continued to accelerate the Dantzler development and now expects first production from the Dantzler field by early November. Big Bend and Dantzler, located in Mississippi Canyon 698 and 782, respectively, are subsea tiebacks to the third-party Thunder Hawk production facility. Combined, the fields are estimated to contribute a maximum net production rate of 20 MBoe/d to Noble Energy.

Gary W. Willingham, Noble Energy’s Executive Vice President of Operations, said, “We continue to build on our strong track record of major project execution with Big Bend coming online less than three years from discovery and within our sanctioned budget. Big Bend is the first of three major projects planned to come online for us in the Gulf of Mexico over the next nine months, contributing significant oil production and cash flow to the business. Short cycle times to first production, strong well deliverability, and low production costs from our Gulf of Mexico projects deliver attractive returns even in today’s environment.”

Noble Energy operates Big Bend with a 54 percent working interest. Other interest owners are W & T Energy VI, LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of W & T Offshore Inc.) with 20 percent, Red Willow Offshore, LLC with 15.4 percent and Houston Energy Deepwater Ventures V, LLC with 10.6 percent.

The Company is also the operator of Dantzler with a 45 percent working interest. Partners include Ridgewood Energy Corporation (including ILX Holdings II, LLC a portfolio company of Riverstone Holdings, LLC) with 35 percent working interest and W & T Energy VI, LLC with 20 percent.

Noble Energy also announced that the Humpback well offshore the Falkland Islands reached total depth and is being plugged and abandoned. Humpback was drilled in the Fitzroy sub-basin of the Southern Area License and encountered non-commercial quantities of crude oil and natural gas. Full well assessment and the integration of drilling results into the Company’s geologic models is ongoing to determine remaining exploration potential in the Southern Area License. The geologic play including Humpback is only one of a number of prospect play types in the Southern Area License.

The rig which drilled the Humpback well will be released to another operator before returning to Noble Energy to spud the Rhea prospect in late 2015 or early 2016. Located in the Northern Area License offshore the Falkland Islands and approximately 265 miles from Humpback, Rhea is in a proven petroleum basin near existing oil discoveries. Rhea is a Cretaceous-aged prospect with multiple reservoir targets and total estimated gross mean unrisked resources in excess of 250 million barrels of oil.

The Company now expects total third quarter 2015 exploration expense to be approximately $200 million, which includes the majority of net costs related to the Humpback well.

Noble Energy (NBL) is a global independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company with total proved reserves of 1.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent at year-end 2014 (pro forma for the Rosetta acquisition). The company’s diverse resource base includes positions in four premier unconventional U.S. onshore plays – the DJ Basin, Eagle Ford Shale, Delaware Basin, and Marcellus Shale – and offshore in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Eastern Mediterranean and West Africa. Driven by its purpose, Energizing the World, Bettering People’s Lives®, the company is committed to safely and responsibly providing energy to the world while positively impacting the lives of our stakeholders. For more information, visit