In the months that followed the creation of ChevronTexaco, the new company found itself looking for resources in ever-more-difficult environments - deeper, more remote and increasingly complex fields, and underground reservoirs with more challenging characteristics.
"The era of easy oil is over," said then Chevron CEO David J. O'Reilly.
Chevron began production from its Tahiti Field, the deepest producing field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, in May 2009. One of the largest crude oil and natural gas reservoirs in the gulf, the field was developed after the company used 3-D imaging signals to penetrate 2-mile-high layers of salt and visualize the full extent of the field.
From 2002 to 2007, Chevron earned close to $72 billion. During that same period, the company invested roughly the same amount to bring new energy supplies to market.
The company remained a leader among its peers, averaging a 42 percent success rate for exploration wells from 2002 through 2007. Chevron's exploration program added an average of 1 billion barrels to its resource base over that same time period.
In 2005, the company changed its name to Chevron Corp. and then acquired Unocal Corp., further enhancing its position as a leading energy provider. The acquisition was a strong strategic fit, strengthening the company's exploration and production portfolio in the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and the Caspian region. The addition of Unocal provided a deep source of talent and leading-edge technology that Chevron quickly integrated throughout its organization.
Technology offered a key advantage in the search for new energy supplies. Chevron's approach to technology is unique in the industry. Fully integrated across the company — from exploration to product delivery — the company's technology success builds upon a combination of proprietary capabilities and strong partnerships.
Chevron demonstrated its expertise in employing deepwater exploration technology in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. In 2006, the Jack well test set more than half-a-dozen world records for pressure, depth and duration in deep water. Five miles deep, it was the deepest well ever tested in the gulf. And these records were achieved without a single safety or environmental incident.
Also in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Chevron achieved first oil from the Tahiti Field in May 2009. In approximately 4,100 feet (1,250 meters) of water, Tahiti features the deepest producing well in the gulf.
Three-dimensional visualization technology gives geologists a virtual tour through the rock, deep underground, and allows them to "see" potential reservoirs. This technology was employed at the Tahiti Field and at the Tengiz and Karachaganak fields in Kazakhstan.
The company used its expertise in reservoir management to complete a major expansion project that nearly doubled production capacity from the giant Tengiz Field in Kazakhstan. The project — called the Sour Gas Injection/Second Generation Plant — took five years and $7 billion to complete.
What's Next for Chevron?
With forecasters predicting that the world's energy demand could increase as much as 50 percent in the next 30 years, the world will need all the energy that can be produced from every potential source.
To meet that kind of demand, the world will need to produce every molecule of energy, from every available source. And while oil, natural gas and coal are expected to provide over 80 percent of the world's energy for the near future, next-generation renewables, such as biofuels, solar and wind power may play a key role in meeting the world's energy needs.
Chevron formed research partnerships with many academic institutions to pursue renewable energy technology, including biofuels from non-food sources. Chevron also is partnering with Weyerhaeuser, the forest products company, on a technology to commercialize biofuels from wood fiber and other waste products.
These technologies are paving the way for an energy future in which the world has abundant supplies from multiple sources, from renewable to conventional.