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Lloyds List: Chevron aims to hit Jack pot with record-breaking well

Published: Sep 12, 2006

CHEVRON is lining up another appraisal well on its Jack oil discovery as the latest Gulf of Mexico well breaks test records, writes Martyn Wingrove.

The US oil major wants to drill again on Jack, which lies in Walker Ridge block 758, in 2007 to delineate this potentially large oil field before making any development decision.

The latest appraisal well, drilled by Transocean’s semi-submersible Cajun Express, tested the Jack field at rates of more than 6,000 barrels of oil per day, confirming its flow potential.

The test broke several records including those for the test equipment, pressure, reservoir depth and duration of a deepwater test programme. It was also the deepest water for an extended drill stem test so far in the Gulf of Mexico.

‘The results of the Jack test allow us and co-owners to better understand the deliverability of the emerging lower Tertiary trend, where Chevron is the largest leaseholder,’ said Gary Luquette, Chevron’s president of North American exploration.

The lower Tertiary has become the latest exploration play in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico that includes BP’s large Kaskida oil discovery, announced last month, the St Malo and Stones discoveries.

It also includes Petrobras’ Cascade field, which the Brazilian firm hopes to bring on stream before 2010 using the region’s first floating production storage and offloading vessel.

Chevron has 50% in Jack, while its partners Oklahoma-based Devon Energy and Norway’s Statoil have 25% each.

Devon said it had an inventory of 19 other lower Tertiary exploration prospects to probe and will drill three of these per year from 2007.

It has taken Diamond Offshore semi-submersible Ocean Endeavor on long term contract, after a $250m upgrade programme, to drill these wells from the second quarter of next year.

‘We believe that results to date confirm the viability of the US Gulf’s lower Tertiary trend,’ said Larry Nichols, Devon’s chairman and chief executive.

Oslo-listed Statoil has made the Walker Ridge a core growth area in its US portfolio.

‘The Jack 2 well test is encouraging and may form the basis of future development projects in Walker Ridge. These will be technologically challenging, allowing us to leverage our subsea and floating production experience,’ said oivind Reinertsen, Statoil’s senior vice-president for the Gulf of Mexico.

– BP is selling its 59% stake in the Stones discovery in Walker Ridge block 508 to partners Shell and Marathon. Shell has finished an appraisal well on Stones using Transocean’s drillship Discoverer Spirit.

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