Noble Energy Inc.
Dec 24, 2003

Noble Energy, Inc. Announces Startup of Natural Gas Production From the Giant Mari-B Field Offshore Israel

HOUSTON, Dec. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announced today the commencement of natural gas production from the Mari-B field in the Mediterranean Sea offshore Israel. Mari-B is the first offshore natural gas production facility in the State of Israel.

The Israel Electric Corporation Limited (IEC) has contracted to purchase natural gas from Noble Energy. IEC plans to startup one new gas turbine and four boilers converted to burn natural gas at its Ashdod electric power plant through the end of 2004.

Noble Energy expects gross production to increase as the boilers are fired up, reaching 100 million cubic feet per day (MMcfpd), approximately 40 MMcfpd net to Noble Energy, by the end of March 2004. Gross production is projected to increase during 2004 as IEC expands its gas-fired generation capacity. Ultimate gross production under the IEC contract is planned to reach 170 MMcfpd (70 MMcfpd net). Noble Energy anticipates it will market additional natural gas as Israel develops its infrastructure in the coming years.

Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's Chairman, President and CEO, said, "The startup of production in Israel is an important milestone for the company. This project will contribute consistent and substantial production volumes, cash flow and income for years to come. Our international team has once again done an outstanding job of implementing a major project. Combined with our liquids expansion project currently under way in Equatorial Guinea, our international business continues to add significantly to our overall operating and financial performance."

Noble Energy made the Mari-B natural gas discovery in March 2000 with the Mari-B #1 well located approximately 15 miles offshore. Construction and installation of the Mari-B jacket and platform were completed in early 2003. Production facilities are sized to produce up to 600 MMcfpd.

The company estimates total recoverable reserves in the Mari-B field exceed one trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Noble Energy is the operator of the project with a 47.059 percent working interest.

Noble Energy also has an undeveloped discovery, Noa, which is estimated to contain over 200 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas. Noa is scheduled to be brought on line at a later date through a sub-sea tieback to the Mari-B platform.

Noble Energy and its partners have an 11-year contract to supply a total of 636 Bcf to IEC for use in IEC's electric power plants. Noble Energy's partners include Avner Oil Exploration Limited Partnership (23 percent), Delek Drilling Limited Partnership (25.5 percent) and Delek Investments and Properties Ltd. (4.441 percent).

Noble Energy is one of the nation's leading independent energy companies and operates throughout major basins in the United States including the Gulf of Mexico, as well as internationally, in Argentina, China, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea and Vietnam. Noble Energy markets natural gas and crude oil through its subsidiary, Noble Energy Marketing, Inc.

This news release may include projections and other "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Any such projections or statements reflect Noble Energy's current views about future events and financial performance. No assurances can be given that such events or performance will occur as projected and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Important factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those projected include, without limitation, the volatility in commodity prices for oil and gas, the presence or recoverability of estimated reserves, the ability to replace reserves, environmental risks, drilling and operating risks, exploration and development risks, competition, government regulation or other action, the ability of management to execute its plans to meet its goals and other risks inherent in Noble Energy's business that are detailed in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings.


Source: Noble Energy, Inc