Construction has begun on a floating production facility for the deepwater Tahiti field in the Gulf of Mexico, and Chevron Corp. now expects first production by mid-2008, the company said Monday. The field, located in 4,000 feet of water, is believed to hold up to 400-500 million boe of potentially recoverable oil and natural gas.

The Tahiti field is located about 190 miles south of New Orleans in Green Canyon Block 640, and it was discovered by Chevron in 2002 (see Daily GPI, April 2, 2002). The producer is designing its floating facility to have a production capacity of 125,000 bbl/d of oil and 70 MMcf/d of natural gas.

The field will be developed in phases, using two subsea drill centers producing to a floating production facility supported by a truss spar. The spar hull is expected to be delivered to the Gulf by mid-2007, with topsides fabrication planned to be completed in that same time frame.

The first phase of development was fully sanctioned in August 2005 by Tahiti joint venture partners Chevron, Statoil ASA and Shell at a cost of more than $1.8 billion. Total capital costs for the project are anticipated to be $3.5 billion. Chevron, the operator, holds a 58% working interest, while Statoil holds a 25% stake and Shell holds a 17% stake. Statoil bought its stake from EnCana Corp. earlier this year (see Daily GPI, April 29).

“Tahiti is one of Chevron’s top five projects, and it demonstrates our focus on investing in the development of world class energy supplies,” said Chevron’s George Kirkland, executive vice president, Upstream and Gas. “It is an example of our ability to advance significant capital projects in areas where we are well positioned for future growth.”

Ray Wilcox of Chevron’s North America Exploration and Production Co. added the project “is a key asset in our expanding deepwater portfolio and is expected to add significant new crude oil and natural gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico.”

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