Chevron signs extension for exploration in PNZ

Chevron Corp. signed a 30-year extension with Saudi Arabia on its right to explore and develop reserves in the Partitioned Neutral Zone (PNZ), an oil-producing area between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 12 -- Chevron Corp. signed a 30-year extension with Saudi Arabia on its right to explore and develop reserves in the Partitioned Neutral Zone (PNZ), an oil-producing area between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

"We see tremendous opportunities in the PNZ," said John Watson, executive vice-president, Strategy and Development, Chevron. Watson said the firm's partnership expects to apply innovative technology to increase the PNZ's recoverable reserves.

Watsdon said Chevron is "excited about the possibility of making full-field development of steamflood technology a reality in the PNZ." He said Chevron is making progress in a series of projects aimed at validating "the feasibility of utilizing steamfloods to produce the extra heavy oil of the Eocene carbonate reservoirs."

Under the agreement, Chevron will continue operating on behalf of the Saudi government, which has a 50% interest in the petroleum resources of the zone's onshore area. The PNZ currently produces around 550,000 b/d of crude oil.

Operations in the PNZ are managed jointly by Chevron's Saudi unit, Saudia Arabian Chevron and the Kuwait Gulf Oil Co., which owns the other 50% stake. Chevron's production is for the kingdom.

Saudi Arabian Chevron and the Kuwait Gulf Oil Co jointly operate four fields in the area—Wafra, South Umm Gudair, South Fuwaris and Humma—that produce mainly heavy crude from 10 reservoirs.

The current agreement, signed 60 years ago, expires in February 2009. It was originally awarded to Getty Oil, which was acquired in 1984 by Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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