press release

Chevron Press Release - Chevron Starts Production From Angola's First Deep-water Oil Field

Kuito oil field comes onstream 2 years after discovery; results in new production record

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 5, 2000 -- Crude oil production has begun from Angola's first deep-water oil field, Chevron announced today.

The new oil from Kuito, combined with ongoing production from Block 0, raises Chevron-led production in Angola to a record level of 519,000 barrels per day. Kuito is expected to reach peak production of 100,000 barrels per day by the end of this quarter.

The Kuito field, discovered in April 1997, lies offshore Cabinda Province in Angola's deep-water Block 14, a 1,560-square-mile concession adjacent to Chevron-operated Block 0.

"This is a significant day for Angola," said Peter Robertson, newly appointed president of Chevron Overseas Petroleum Inc. "Kuito first oil occurred on Dec. 15 -- and was achieved under budget and just over 2 years after its discovery -- a remarkable accomplishment. We've established a production rate of about 45,000 barrels per day, and expect to ramp up to 50,000 barrels per day later this week," he said. "Hearty congratulations to the employees of Chevron, to our partner companies Sonangol, Agip, Total and Petrogal, and to our contractors for their diligence and hard work."

Dick Matzke, vice chairman of Chevron, noted that Chevron was particularly proud to take the lead in securing Angola's position in deep-water development of hydrocarbon resources.

"With the advent of Kuito production, Angola approaches the new millennium with the distinction of being one of the world's best areas for frontier oil exploration and production, especially in deep-water areas," Matzke said. "In the years to come, development of the other significant discoveries we've made in Block 14 will become a major element contributing to Angola's economic growth."

Mark Puckett, managing director of Chevron's Luanda-based Southern Africa business unit, said that in the initial phase of Kuito development, 12 subsea wells produce crude oil for processing to the FPSO Kuito, a floating production, storage and off-take vessel. Through a separate floating buoy, crude will be pumped into tankers for export. A subsea water injection system, installed in conjunction with the initial subsea production system and controlled aboard the FPSO, will enhance production from the field. Water injection will begin mid-2000.

Puckett noted that once startup and commissioning is complete (within 4 to 6 weeks), no natural gas will be flared at Kuito. Natural gas, which is present in the reservoir and produced in association with the crude oil, will either be used as fuel for the FPSO or reinjected into the reservoir. "The Kuito facilities are state-of-the-art and meet the most stringent international environmental standards," Puckett said.

"Kuito is the first of several such projects in Block 14," Puckett noted, adding that detailed reservoir and development studies are now under way for the Benguela and Belize fields, both of which were discovered by Chevron and its partners last year.

Block 14 is operated by Chevron, which holds a 31 percent interest in the concession. Sociedade Nacional de Combustiveis de Angola (the Angolan national oil company known as Sonangol), Agip Angola Exploraao BV, and Total Angola each hold a 20 percent interest; Petrogal holds the remaining 9 percent interest.

Notes to Editors:

  • The FPSO Kuito has a 1.4-million-barrel storage capacity and can process 120,000 barrels of fluids each day. The vessel is chartered from Sonasing, a joint venture operation between Sonangol and SBM Production Contractors Limited.
  • The three-member contractor consortium of Single Buoy Moorings Inc., ABB Offshore Systems Inc., and Coflexip was responsible for fabrication and installation of the Kuito facilities. Wells were drilled and completed by the Sedco-Forex drilling rig Sedco 708.
  • Chevron commends all contractors for their skill and diligence in maintaining an excellent safety record while attaining top quartile performance for project completion in minimum time.

Updated: January 2000