Colorado, Harvey resistance, leads to good quarter for Noble Energy


Oct. 31 (UPI) — Third quarter production and sales gains were supported largely by growth in U.S. shale oil, particularly in Colorado, Noble Energy said.

The company said its total U.S. onshore production posted a quarterly record at 93,000 barrels per day, up about 25 percent from the same time last year. At the Denver-Julesburg shale basin, the company said it averaged 61,000 bpd, up 6 percent from the second quarter.

“Oil as a percentage of total basin volumes grew to a record 54 percent,” the company stated.

Bill Barrett Corp., a company with a strong focus on U.S. shale, in September updated its guidance on 2017 production figures following positive results from a nine-well drilling program in Colorado. The company said it expected production for 2017 would be 12 percent higher than last year and predictions for third quarter production sales volumes were revised upward by 9 percent.

Third quarter figures for Noble came as the price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, held onto $60 per barrel for the third straight trading day as of early Tuesday. Shale oil operators had already grown accustomed to life at $50 per barrel, after proving themselves more resilient to a weakened market than expected.

“Our strong results for the third quarter continue to reflect the company’s high-quality assets and differentiated execution, with particularly strong performance from our U.S. onshore business,” Noble chief David Stover said in a statement.

Operating expenses for Noble in the third quarter were lower than expected, with a noted decline coming from Colorado lease operating expenses.

Noble holds acreage in the Eagle Ford shale basin, which was impacted heavily by Hurricane Harvey last month. Adjusting for that impact, the company said its total production would’ve been higher than it expected.

About half of the respondents from 143 energy companies to a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said they expected minor impacts on their business activity from Harvey.

Noble said its anticipated sales volumes in the fourth quarter were unchanged, “showing the company’s asset resiliency despite the impact of early fourth quarter storms in the Gulf of Mexico and Eagle Ford areas.”