Noble Energy Gets $97 Million for Ecuadorean Energy Assets

Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) said it was paid $97 million for energy assets in Ecuador after the government canceled a contract last year for the company to produce natural gas from an offshore field.

The company, based in Houston, announced its exit from Ecuador after getting paid for its stake in the Block 3 and Amistad fields as well as the Machala gas-fueled power plant, according to a statement today. Noble Energy sold 30 million cubic feet of gas a day from its Ecuador operations in 2010, before a production-sharing contract was terminated in November.

The Block 3 field held an estimated 160 billion cubic feet of gas, according to a Feb. 10 regulatory filing. The Ecuadorean holdings accounted for “less than 2 percent” of the company’s production, said David Larson, a Noble Energy spokesman. The net book value for the assets was about $68 million and they have been transfered to government-owned entities, the company said in the statement.

Ecuador’s government in November canceled Noble Energy’s lease in the Gulf of Guayaquil and seized the power plant in the city of Guayaquil after the company refused to sign a new contract giving the state greater control over gas reserves. The government said it would nationalize assets belonging to companies that didn’t comply.

Ecuador last year also seized Rio de Janeiro-based Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4)’s local oil concessions and has said it plans to pay an “adequate” price for the company’s assets.

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