A Look At Chevron’s Key Deepwater Projects

by Trefis Team
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Chevron (NYSE:CVX) expects to grow its upstream production from around 2.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (MMBOED) in 2013 to 3.1 MMBOED in 2017. This is not going to be an easy task for the company because the base assets that contributed to its 2013 production are projected to be producing just around 2.2 MMBOED by 2017, given a normal 4% annual rate of decline. Therefore, Chevron would have to add new production of around 0.9 MMBOED in a period of just four years. This compares to a history of relatively flat upstream production reported by the company since 2007. [1]

Chevron expects to draw most of the growth in its net production from the start-up and subsequent ramp-up some new upstream projects. We can break up the new projects that the company plans to bring online in the short to medium term in three broad categories: 1) LNG, 2) Deepwater, and 3) Shale/Tight Development. Here, we take a closer look at some of the key Deepwater projects that would help Chevron meet its aggressive production growth target.

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Chevron’s overall deepwater production was around 0.35 MMBOED in 2013. Hydrocarbons produced from the deepwater fields in the Gulf of Mexico made up around 60% of that. The company expects to boost its overall hydrocarbon production from the deepwater reserves by ~30% by 2017. In order to achieve this target, it is currently working on or is indirectly involved in multiple ongoing deepwater projects. Below, we provide a brief summary on some of these projects. [2]

Papa-Terra: The Papa-Terra field is a heavy crude oil field located in the Campos Basin, offshore Brazil. Petrobras is the operator of the field with 62.5% interest, while the remaining 37.5% interest is held by Chevron. The project is being developed at a cost of more than $5 billion. It includes a floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), and a tension leg wellhead platform with a design capacity of around 0.146 MMBOED. Hydrocarbon production from the project started in November last year and is expected to ramp up during this year. [2]

Jack/St. Malo: The Jack and St Malo oilfields are situated in Walker Ridge blocks 758, 759 and 678 of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The fields are located 40km away from each other and are being jointly developed with a floating production unit (FPU) located between them. Chevron holds a 50% operating interest in the Jack field, while Maersk and Statoil hold 25% each. The company is also the operator of the St Malo field with a 51% interest. Other partners in the St Malo field include Petrobras (25%), Statoil (21.50%), ExxonMobil (1.25%) and ENI (1.25%). Production from the development of Jack and St. Malo fields is expected to ramp up to around 0.0975 MMBOED at its peak. The Jack/St. Malo project is being developed at a cost of over $7.5 billion. First production from the project with a design capacity of around 0.177 MMBOED is expected later this year. It was around 74% complete at the end of 2013. [2]

Big Foot: Discovered in January 2006, the Big Foot field is considered to be one of the larger oil discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico. It is estimated to hold oil and gas reserves of over 100 MMBOE. Chevron is the operator of the field with a 60% interest. Other partners in the project include Statoil (27.5%) and Marubeni Oil & Gas (12.5%). The project with a design capacity of around 0.079 MMBOED is expected to come online by next year at a cost of over $5 billion. At the end of 2013, it was around 84% complete. [2]

Tubular Bells: The Tubular Bells field is located in the Mississippi Canyon Block 725 of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The deepwater field is situated about 217 kilometers southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana. Hess Corporation, an integrated energy company, is the operator of Tubular Bells. Chevron holds a 42.9% stake in the project, which is expected to start-up by the third quarter of this year and reach a peak production rate of around 0.044 MMBOED in the long run. [2]

Together, these deepwater projects are expected to boost Chevron’s net hydrocarbon production by more than 0.15 MMBOED in the short to medium term.

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  1. Chevron Corporation’s 2014 Security Analyst Meeting, chevron.com []
  2. Chevron SEC Filings, sec.gov [] [] [] [] []
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