Chevron Corp. has conducted a successful production test on the St. Malo PS003 well in the prolific Lower Tertiary Trend in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM), with low rates, though limited by testing equipment constraints, exceeding 13,000 b/d of oil, the operator said Thursday.

The test, conducted in August and September, was in Walker Ridge Block 678, targeting Lower Tertiary sands more than 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) under the sea floor. The test was the first development well in the St. Malo field, which is being jointly developed with the prospective Jack field.

Following four years of development, the Jack/St. Malo project was sanctioned two years ago (see Daily GPI, Oct. 22, 2010; Sept. 6, 2006). When the joint project ramps up, now anticipated in 2014, it is expected to produce up to 42.5 MMcf/d of natural gas and 170,000 b/d of oil. Together the Jack and St. Malo fields are estimated to hold more than 500 million boe of total recoverable reserves.

“The well test is a further demonstration of the potential of the Lower Tertiary and highlights our leadership in developing deepwater resources globally,” said Chevron Vice Chairman George Kirkland.

The estimated oil production from the project by itself would more than double Chevron’s average net production in the GOM; in 2009 the producer’s GOM projects produced 484 MMcf/d of gas, 149,000 b/d of crude oil and 14,000 b/d of natural gas liquids.

“The results of this production test further confirm the significance of the St. Malo field,” said Gary Luquette, president of Chevron North American Exploration and Production Co. “The jointly developed Jack and St. Malo fields are expected to provide a major step-up in Chevron’s production from 2014 and produce domestic energy for decades to come.”

The two fields are located within 25 miles of each other and are being developed with a host floating production unit between them in 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) of water. Total project costs for the initial phase of the development, which is about 280 miles south of New Orleans, are estimated at $7.5 billion.

Through subsidiary Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Chevron holds a half-stake in the Jack field, a 51% stake in the St. Malo field, and 50.67% interest in the planned host facility. Chevron shares the St. Malo field with Brazil’s Petroleo Brasilerio, or Petrobras, (25%), Statoil ASA (21.5%), as well as ExxonMobil Corp. and Italy’s Eni SpA, which each own 1.25%.

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