OTC: Listen, but not too closely

Throughout the plethora of presentations at the Offshore Technology Conference, speakers start by displaying “forward-looking statements,” those legalese-packed paragraphs that essentially say whatever the speaker says shouldn’t be taken as absolute fact on which any one would make an investment.
But once in a while, someone gives the forward-looking statement its due.
Steve Thurston, vice president of deepwater exploration and projects for Chevron, faced a sold-out lunch crowd for his presentation on the Gulf of Mexico’s Lower Tertiary, an ancient rock layer thousands of feet below the seabed thought to hold 3 billion to 15 billion barrels of oil. The 300-square-mile trend commonly referred to as the Wilcox has piqued plenty of interest in the industry despite new frontier-like challenges that include having to drill through a huge salt layer.
Thurston joked when he flashed Chevron’s forward-looking statement on a screen next to his podium today that it took the company’s lawyers two days to pack it into one slide.
“It says you should take everything I say with a grain of salt. For the Wilcox, it’s about 10,000 feet of salt,” Thurston said.