HOUSTON, Sept. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announced today a discovery at the Troubadour exploration prospect in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The well, located in Noble Energy's Big Bend/Troubadour "Rio Grande" area, is located in 7,273 feet of water on Mississippi Canyon Block 699 and was drilled to a total depth of 19,510 feet. Reservoir and fluid measurement logs identified approximately 50 feet of net natural gas pay in a high-quality Miocene reservoir. Susan Cunningham, Noble Energy's Senior Vice President, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Frontier Ventures, commented, "The discovery at Troubadour follows on our earlier exploration success at Big Bend, which combine to provide another significant development opportunity for our Gulf of Mexico business. Results from the well have provided critical new information that indicates a greater than previously predicted oil recovery in the Rio Grande complex. Discovered gross resources (1) in this area are now estimated at between 50 and 100 million barrels of oil equivalent, with 75 percent representing oil volumes. We are moving forward our development planning as subsea tiebacks to an existing host facility. Initial project sanction is targeted by the end of this year and first production is planned toward the end of 2015." The Troubadour discovery well is being temporarily abandoned for future development. Following completion of operations at Troubadour, Noble Energy plans to move the drilling rig to the Dantzler prospect on Mississippi Canyon 738/782. Dantzler is operated by Noble Energy with a 65 percent participating interest and is targeting a resource range (1) of between 50 and 220 million barrels of oil equivalent gross. Results from the exploration well are anticipated by the end of 2013. Noble Energy operates Big Bend with a 54 percent participating interest and Troubadour with a 60 percent interest. Other interest owners at Big Bend include Red Willow Offshore, LLC with 15.4 percent, Houston Energy Deepwater Ventures V, LLC with 10.6 percent and W&T Energy VI, LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of W&T Offshore Inc.) with 20 percent. W&T Energy VI, LLC and Deep Gulf Energy II, LLC participate in Troubadour with 20 percent each.