Chevron nears Congo project decision, prices China gas plant

Chevron Corp is about to make a final call on a Republic of the Congo offshore project that could ultimately produce an estimated 127,000 barrels per day of crude oil after its anticipated start up in 2015. Chevron said a final investment decision (FID) on the Moho Nord project, including a facilities hub and a tieback to the existing Moho-Bilondo floating production unit, is due by the end of March. News of the development accompanied a number of new Chevron plans for Africa, along with updates on existing projects in the second-largest U.S. oil company’s annual report. In China, Chevron said the first part of a natural gas processing complex at Chuandongbei would start up by the end of this year, with a second phase to follow for a total capacity of 558 million cubic feet per day. The total cost of the project, in which Chevron owns 49 percent, is estimated at $6.4 billion. Off the coast, Chevron said it relinquished in November two South China Sea blocks after drilling dry holes there last year. A third block is still under evaluation, it added. Off Angola, the company expects FID on Lucapa in 2014. Development plans at the field in Block 14 include a floating production unit and 17 wells, with a design capacity of 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day, Chevron said. In a joint Angola-Congo development area, Chevron said it has a 31.3 percent interest in the Lianzi zone, where it plans four producing wells, three water injection wells, and a subsea tieback to a platform in Block 14. First oil is expected in 2015, with a maximum daily output of 46,000 barrels of crude. In Nigeria, Chevron said a gas-to-liquids plant is still on track to start this year, having been delayed for three years and seen its estimated cost already more than double. Another $1.1 billion was added to the cost estimate, now $9.5 billion. Closer to home, Chevron is evaluating a second stage of its Jack/St Malo Gulf of Mexico development, which is due to start up in 2014. The new stage is set to include four development wells, and early engineering work will start this year. But elsewhere in the Gulf, drilling at its Moccasin discovery had just been placed on hold for equipment repair and was expected to resume later this year. Moccasin and the nearby Buckskin discovery could be jointly developed upon successful completion of the new appraisal drilling, Chevron said. Chevron also said in the annual report that FID on the Block B Gas Development, off the southwest coast of Vietnam and expected to reach maximum daily production of 490 million cubic feet, is still pending as Chevron works out commercial terms. But despite a freeze on some of its assets in Argentina related to enforcement of its long-running pollution case in Ecuador, Chevron said it had started a third exploratory well in the Vaca Muerta formation in Argentina, and plans to drill three more appraisal wells there this year.