press release

Chevron Press Release - Chevron Starts Production From North Sea Oil Field

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 14, 1994 -- Chevron today announced first oil production from the Alba Field in the U.K. North Sea.

Alba, discovered in 1984, holds up to 400 million recoverable barrels of oil and is being developed in two phases, according to Chevron UK Limited, the fields operator and largest interest holder. Phase I, which has cost about $1 billion, should reach peak production of about 70,000 barrels per day later this year.

Alba's oil is being produced from relatively shallow Eocene deposits. The field is the first of a "new generation" of North Sea fields likely to yield significant output from zones about half as deep as most North Sea fields, according to Charles Smith, Chevron UK managing director.

"Alba breaks new ground in incorporating the most up-to-date best practices in both safety management and environmental protection," said Smith.

"The development also incorporates numerous cost-saving and efficiency innovations resulting from widespread use of quality improvement techniques. Operating management, development contractors and suppliers combined as a unified team with a common goal of on-time and within-budget performance."

The Alba reservoir's shallow depth -- just 6,000 feet -- required advanced techniques of horizontal and high-angle drilling. Also, the oil is relatively heavy compared to typical North Sea crudes. Electric submersible pumps support the flow of oil, and special gravel filters will keep sand from blocking the flow. Continuous water injection will be used to maintain reservoir pressure.

All Phase I production is from a single platform, Alba Northern, which stands on the sea floor in water 450 feet deep. Crude is pumped through a three-kilometer pipeline to a permanently moored, floating storage vessel, which will periodically be unloaded by a shuttle tanker. Plans for Phase II, to develop Alba's southern portion, are currently under discussion.

The Alba participants are Chevron UK (33.17 percent); Amerada Hess Limited (2.25 percent); Aran Energy Exploration Limited (5 percent); Conoco Petroleum (Alba) Limited (2.35 percent); Conoco (U.K.) Limited (9.33 percent); Fina Petroleum Development Limited (12.65 percent); Oryx U.K. Energy Co. (15.5 percent); Santa Fe Exploration (U.K.) Ltd. (11.75 percent); and Unilon Oil Explorations Limited/Baytrust Oil Explorations Limited (8 percent).

Alba, located 130 miles northeast of Aberdeen, overlies another big field, Britannia, which holds recoverable reserves of approximately 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas and up to 200 million barrels of condensate and natural gas liquids.

Britannia, which is being developed separately from Alba, will be one of the largest gas condensate fields ever produced in the North Sea, with first output scheduled for 1998. Chevron and Conoco are acting as joint operators of the field.

Chevron UK, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Chevron Corporation, pioneered drilling in the U.K. North Sea in 1964 and operates the giant Ninian Field, the region's third largest.

Updated: January 1994