(West Africa) - Reuters, quoting Chevron's director in Sao Tome, reported on Friday that the company will start its first exploration well in January in a joint exploration area between Nigeria and the West African archipelago of Sao Tome and Principe.
Chevron's Tim Persons says the deepwater well at a depth of 1,700 m (5,643 ft) should be completed within 60 days at a cost of around $60 million.
In the case of a commercially-viable discovery, oil production would begin in 2010, Persons says.
Of the nine offshore blocks in the joint development zone, Chevron and ExxonMobil acquired rights to block 1 just over a year ago for a signature bonus of $123 million.
Signed in February 2001, the joint development deal establishes a 60% stake for Nigeria and the remaining 40% for Sao Tome.