press release


$350 Million Investment Exemplifies Commitment to Rejuvenating Mature Fields


HOBBS, N.M., Aug. 15 - At a ceremony in Lea County, New Mexico, today, Texaco celebrated the initial injection of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the Vacuum Field's Central Vacuum Unit. The addition of CO2 into this mature unit will significantly extend the life of the field by more than 20 years. Also, the project is expected to recover an additional 20 million barrels of oil and 23 billion cubic feet of gas that otherwise would not have been produced.

The Vacuum Field was discovered in 1929 and is located in Buckeye, N.M., about 30 miles west of Hobbs. The primary production phase of the field lasted until 1977, at which time the Central Vacuum Unit was formed as a waterflood operation.

As occurs in most mature fields, the waterflood sustained and enhanced production for a period of time. However, it became apparent in the early 1990's that tertiary recovery methods would be necessary for economic levels of production to continue. Construction of field installations for CO2 injection began in early 1997, culminating in the recent startup of the project.

Gas and water are being injected in an alternating manner to stimulate production from 68 existing producing wells. Each of the planned 51 injection wells will inject an average of three million cubic feet of gas per day followed by a predetermined amount of water. It is anticipated that approximately 260 billion cubic feet of CO2 and other gases, and approximately 150 million barrels of water, will be injected into the unit overall. Currently six injection wells are operating.

Expenditures are anticipated to be $350 million over the life of the project. In addition to normal operating costs, significant project investments will include:

  • construction of distribution and gathering lines,
  • preparation of wells for CO2 injection, and
  • construction of a gas processing and handling facility to recover natural gas liquids, as well as purify and pressurize the CO2 for reinjection into the reservoir.

These incremental investments related to the project will contribute approximately $100 million to the New Mexico economy. The three-year construction phase of the project is expected to employ approximately 100 contract employees.

C. Robert Black, Senior Vice President of Texaco Inc. and President of Worldwide Exploration and Production, noted, "Successful petroleum companies not only find new sources of hydrocarbons that can be produced commercially, but also identify ways to recover even more of the oil that has already been found and thus enhance the value of existing assets. The project at Vacuum Field exemplifies how Texaco employees use technology to propel the company forward in today's highly competitive business environment."

Richard J. Schneider, Permian Basin Business Unit Manager for Texaco North America Production in Midland, added, "Texaco has been an oil and gas producer in New Mexico for more than 70 years, and this project will extend the life of the field to the year 2030 and beyond. Texaco is proud to be the operator of this outstanding project, which builds upon our significant commitment to the State of New Mexico."

Commenting on the project, U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, said, "It is gratifying to witness the fruition of this important project, which provides jobs to the employees who are installing the CO2 injection system and also provides employment by extending the producing life of the field. The State of New Mexico definitely benefits from projects such as this, which enhance the state's economic well being."

Texaco is the operator of the Central Vacuum Unit and owns a 60 percent interest in the unit. Marathon Oil Company holds a 25.6 percent interest while the remaining working interests are held by Phillips Petroleum Company, Mobil Exploration and Producing U.S. Inc. and 15 other interest owners.

Updated: August 1997