Unocal Corp. said Tuesday that its capital expenditures this year will reach about $1.93 billion, up from last year’s $1.66 billion. About 94% of the total capital spending plan is for exploration and production projects, with two-thirds targeted for projects outside North America.

This year, the El Segundo, CA-based major expects to maintain an exploration capital budget of about $325 million. The primary focus will be deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and Indonesia. Exploration spending on the deep shelf program in the GOM represents about 10% of the overall spending plan, but it will be less than one-half of the 2003 funding level.

Nearly 50% of the estimated spending, or $930 million, is earmarked principally for large international crude oil and natural gas development projects that are expected to bring on new production in 2004 and 2005. Major international projects include Thailand oil and gas development, Indonesia deepwater development, Bangladesh gas field development, Caspian Sea oil development (including the export pipeline), and China’s Xihu Trough natural gas development.

In the United States, Unocal said it would be completing its deepwater GOM Mad Dog field and beginning development of the K2 field.

Production-wise, Unocal said its worldwide average would be flat compared with last year, at about 450,000 boe/d. Several of its major development projects are not expected to come online until 2005.

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