DEVELOPMENT OPERATIONS: Gulf of Mexico leads development activity; Nigeria, SE Asia second

Nov. 1, 2001
351 developments underway around globe

The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) remains a hot spot in terms of field development activity, with Nigeria and Malaysia/Thailand, which has been quietly gaining invest-ment, coming in second. Much of the Gulf of Mexico activity is taking place in deepwater, while most activity in other regions remains in shallow water.

Of the 351 field developments worldwide actually underway, only 40 are in over 1,000 ft water depths. The Gulf of Mexico contains 27 of the 40.

The Gulf of Mexico, Malaysia/Thailand, Nigeria, Indonesia, and UK North Sea are the regions with the most licenses for field development (see survey following). The remaining 311 fields fall in shallower water, the lowest at a depth of 8 ft.

Operators are continuing with development projects that have a lower risk if oil prices weaken substantially. At this point, virtually all of the operators in deepwater are majors, including their subsidiaries. TotalFinaElf has contracted for three deepwater fields in Africa. Kerr McGee has five in the Gulf of Mexico, and Shell has six in the same area. Shell also has one project in Nigeria and one in the UK. Burullus Gas Co. is the only operator in Egypt with marine projects - in deepwater. ExxonMobil holds four in the Gulf of Mexico. BP is working on three fields and Chevron Texaco is working on two, all in the Gulf of Mexico. The remaining operators working in deepwater have one field in development. They are Vaalco in Gabon, Agip in Nigeria, Unocal in Indonesia. Enterprise Energy in Ireland, Norsk Hydro in Norway, and Texaco in Brazil. Chevron Texaco and Marathon are jointly working on a field in the Gulf of Mexico. TotalFinaElf also has a project in the Gulf, as does Santa Fe, EEX Corp., Mariner Energy, ExxonMobil, Amerada Hess, El Paso, and Chevron Texaco.

Most fields listed last year were expected to have production systems installed in 2001, however there was some difficulty determining whether that status would shift to 2002. Field status obtained from information provided by PetroConsultants, the US Minerals Management Service, Petrodata, and Infield showed that approximately 59 production systems were to be installed worldwide in 2001. At the present time, six production installations are expected to take place in 2002, five more in 2003, and one each in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. The number of fields expected to go onstream are 16 in 2001, 11 in 2002, and 28 in 2003.

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