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Noble Energy oil and gas exploration summary

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Report summary

Noble Energy has historically used exploration as its primary engine of growth. Its strategy has shifted as production and capital spend are now dominated by US onshore. Acquisitions have catapulted Noble into a leading Permian player. While conventional exploration is taking a back seat in terms of activity, its role is to grow the company through high-impact drilling to attain major new developments. Over the past decade, Noble has opened frontier plays and enjoyed a period of outstanding success with wildcat drilling, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean. Regulatory barriers to commercialisation of the giant gas resources here have been removed. We currently calculate full-cycle value creation of around US$2 billion from conventional exploration over the decade. Lower prices have pushed returns from unconventional exploration below 10%, though we expect that to improve in the future as the new Delaware basin acreage is delineated and exploited.

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    Noble Energy oil and gas exploration summary

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Table of contents

  • Executive summary
    • Upstream strategy
    • Exploration outlook
    • Evolution of exploration strategy
  • Investment and costs
    • Well data
  • Reserves and resources
  • Production
    • Giant volumes discovered at low cost
    • Higher-impact exploration brings greater complexity
    • Realising value from the giant gas finds will be challenging

Tables and charts

This report includes 24 images and tables including:


  • Basins drilled and all conventional organic & unorganic discoveries 2007-2016
  • Exploration & appraisal spend and reinvestment
  • Exploration & appraisal spend by water depth
  • Exploration & appraisal spend by basin maturity
  • Discovery costs by water depth
  • Volumes discovered by year
  • Volumes discovered by water depth
  • Volumes discovered by country
  • Volumes discovered by basin
  • Production from new field discoveries, organic unconventionals and as a proportion of all future production
  • Net active exploration acreage by water depth
  • Net active conventional exploration acreage by country
  • Exploration wells drilled and spend per well
  • Exploration success rates
  • Full cycle value creation by year, including unconventionals
  • Exploration returns by year, including unconventionals
  • Costs and development value by reserves category
  • Exploration returns by water depth


  • Ten year performance summary
  • Discoveries (2007 to 2016)
  • Reserves and resources: Table 2
  • Full-cycle economics
  • SWOT grid
  • Gross conventional exploration & appraisal wells by basin and sector

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