18 September 2002 – Noble Energy Inc. announced it has started commercial electricity generation from its Machala power plant located in the Republic of Ecuador. Initial generating capacity (simple cycle) will be 130 megawatts from twin General Electric Frame 6Fa turbines.

After completing its performance tests, the Unit 1 turbine initiated commercial delivery of electricity on September 14, 2002. Unit 2 has completed its performance tests and began commercial deliveries recently. Both units were originally scheduled to begin operation early in the fourth quarter of 2002.

Noble Energy, through its subsidiaries EDC Ecuador Ltd. and Machala Power Cia. Ltda., has a 100 percent ownership interest in the fully integrated gas- to-power project. The project includes the Amistad natural gas field, which will provide fuel to the Machala power plant.

Charles D. Davidson, Chairman, President and CEO of Noble Energy stated, “Start-up of the Amistad field and the Machala facility represents another major milestone in Noble Energy’s international growth program. The successful completion of Machala Power in conjunction with last year’s start- up of our methanol plant in Equatorial Guinea demonstrates Noble Energy’s unique ability to enhance the value of international natural gas reserves.”

The Amistad field is located in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Guayaquil near the coast of Ecuador. To date, Noble Energy has completed three development wells in the Amistad field that will supply approximately 30 million cubic feet per day of natural gas to the power plant.

The Machala power plant is located on the coast near Machala, Ecuador and connects to Amistad via a 40-mile pipeline. Machala Power is the only natural gas-fired commercial power generator in Ecuador. It’s variable cost is currently 4.2 cents per kilowatt hour, which is more than 10 percent below the next lowest cost producer and 40 percent to 50 percent below the highest cost generators currently being dispatched.

Davidson added, “An early start-up of the Machala plant will provide important benefits to both Noble Energy and Ecuador. As Ecuador now enters the dry season, when hydroelectric capacity declines, lower-cost energy from Machala will help fill an important gap.” Electricity prices typically rise in Ecuador during the dry season due to greater reliance on thermal generators. Increased crude oil prices have also had a significant impact on the power costs for these generators.

Noble Energy, the parent company of Samedan Oil Corporation, Noble Gas Marketing, Inc. and Noble Trading, Inc., is an independent energy company. Noble Energy 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.

Source: Noble Energy, Inc.