Drilling Deep for Energy Security

By February 7, 2009Energy

Big news from Chevron and the Gulf of Mexico, as the energy company announces a deep water discovery of some significance:

SAN RAMON, Calif., Feb. 5, 2009 – Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) today announced a new deepwater oil discovery at the Buckskin prospect located in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The block is approximately 190 miles southeast of Houston, Texas, and 44 miles west of Chevron’s 2004 Jack discovery, which is also in the Lower Tertiary.

The Buckskin No. 1 discovery well encountered more than 300 feet of net pay. The well is located in approximately 6,920 feet of water and was drilled to a depth of 29,404 feet….

George Kirkland, Chevron executive vice president, Global Upstream and Gas, said, “This is a very significant discovery in the Lower Tertiary trend, where Chevron is the largest leaseholder. Continuing our success at the Jack well, Buckskin reinforces the trend’s potential to provide the U.S. with important new energy supplies.”

The ship is the Stena DRILLMax, of the Swedish company, Stena Drilling. (Photo courtesy Chevron.)

Brazil is occasionally held up as the pinacle of energy independence thanks to its ethanol production. More important is the country’s commitment to offshore energy develoment, deep water development. From last month, “Brazil Expands Investment in Offshore Drilling Projects“:

In 2007 and 2008, Petrobras and partners including Repsol YPF of Spain and the BG Group of Britain discovered vast deposits of oil under more than 4,000 meters of water, rock and salt.

Although the finds are at previously untapped depths and will be costly to extract, they hold an estimated 8 billion to 12 billion barrels of oil, according to Petrobras figures. Company officials and oil experts say that other reserves of that size could be nearby.

One of the finds alone, named the Tupi, holds the equivalent of 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of light crude oil and is the world’s biggest new field since a 12-billion-barrel find in Kazakhstan in 2000.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil has said repeatedly that developing these oil reserves is vital to the country’s future, and Petrobras has set aside $28 billion to that end.

It’s private sector companies like Chevron developing U.S. deepwater energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico. As we often say, it’s a good thing they make money. From “Chevron Announces $22.8 Billion Capital and Exploratory Budget for 2009“:

Our upstream investments are aimed at finding and developing oil and gas resources to increase production and help supply the energy needs of markets around the world,” said George Kirkland, Chevron’s executive vice president of Upstream and Gas. “Start-ups of major projects in 2009 are expected to include Tahiti in the Gulf of Mexico, Tombua-Landana offshore Angola and Frade offshore Brazil. We also anticipate significant production increases from recent start-ups at Agbami offshore Nigeria and Blind Faith in the Gulf of Mexico and from expansion activity at Tengiz in Kazakhstan.”


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