Chevron U.S.A. Production and its joint-venture partners – ShellDeepwater Development, EEX Corp. and Enterprise Oil Gulf of Mexico- set a new water-depth world record of 7,718 feet as they begandrilling their initial exploratory test well in the Gulf ofMexico’s Atwater Valley Block 118, about 175 miles southeast of NewOrleans. The Chevron-led team anticipates the well, designatedAtwater Valley 118 #1, will reach target depth of 15,471 feet belowthe seabed in the fourth quarter of this year. The companies areusing the fabled Glomar Explorer drill ship – initially built forU.S. intelligence work – owned by Global Marine to drill the well.Chevron and Texaco plan to alternate into the operator position asthey go forward with plans to drill 20 deepwater wells in the Gulfof Mexico.

“The biggest and best opportunities remaining in the Gulf ofMexico are water depths reachable only by drill ships,” said AndyHardiman, Chevron’s vice president for the Gulf of Mexico DeepwaterBusiness Unit. The Explorer and Chevron’s second drill ship, theTransocean Deep Seas (100% owned by Chevron, to be delivered in 2000) will enable Chevron to evaluate the huge potential of its 80ultra-deepwater prospects. “We have great prospects … and therigs that can drill them,” said Hardiman, who added that Chevronwill be entertaining proposals from potential partners over thenext few months to participate in 12 wells over the next two years.

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