Noble Energy (NBL) , one of the leading independent oil and gas companies in the US, saw shares jump in early trading on Wednesday on the announcement of its intention to split into two separate companies.
The company has been very busy of late, but Wednesday’s news is particularly interesting. Noble plans to divide its business into two companies; one that encompasses the highly valued “ultra-deepwater rigs,” drilling platforms with the capacity to extract oil and gas in waters of depths exceeding 5,000 feet, and another that would group its older assets.
The move reflects an industry-wide trend that has seen an increasing eagerness to go after difficult-to-reach reserves both on and off-shore. Technological developments over the last decade have allowed oil explorers access to previously untouchable or even unknown reserves locked within shale formations, both on land and deep underneath the floor of the sea.
Generally speaking, independents have had a better time adjusting to this new situation, and Noble is perhaps one of the best examples of this. Among its many projects around the world, the company has most notably been involved in retrieving oil and gas off the Southern coast of Israel, in the Mediterranean ocean’s Levant Basin, where a number of discoveries since the turn of the millennium could make the small nation not only energy independent, but also a major exporter.
Noble has a significant stake in most of the major offshore projects currently underway in the Levant Basin. Shares pared back after early gains however, ending the day just a hare in the red on a loss of 0.15 percent to $67.02. The company is up 33 percent on the year.