Noble Energy expects 2013 spending to rise marginally to $3.9 bln

Thu Dec 6, 2012 8:23am EST

* Expects 43 pct of 2013 budget to go to DJ Basin

* Sees 2013 sales volumes from cont ops of 270-282 mboe/d

Dec 6 (Reuters) - Noble Energy Inc said it expects capital spending to rise marginally to $3.9 billion in 2013, with nearly two-thirds of the budget going to its onshore operations in the United States.

Exploration and production spending in North America will "take a breather" after years of growth and be roughly flat in 2013, Barclays said earlier this week, after surveying more than 300 oil and gas companies.

Noble had earmarked a total budget of $3.5 billion for 2012, of which it spent about $2.55 billion in the nine months ended Sept. 30.

Noble Energy said it expects 2013 sales volumes from continuing operations to average between 270,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) and 282,000 boe/d, roughly 20 percent higher than this year, after adjusting for U.S. property sales closed in 2012.

The company now expects fourth-quarter sales volumes from continuing operations to be higher than the top end of its forecast of 248,000 boe/d to 252,000 boe/d due to strong production growth in the Denver-Julesburg Basin.

The DJ Basin is centered in eastern Colorado, but extends into southeast Wyoming, western Nebraska, and western Kansas.

Noble Energy said nearly 43 percent of it next year's budget will go to operations in the DJ Basin, where its holds about 860,000 net acres.

Noble Energy now expects current-quarter exploration expense of between $110 million and $130 million, down from $160 million and $200 million.

The company's shares, which have inched up 2 percent this year, closed at $96.04 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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