Chevron find adds to Australia growth

Chevron made a new discovery of natural gas off of Australia’s west coast, adding to other recent exploration successes in a key region for the company.

America’s second-largest energy company after Exxon Mobil said Thursday that its latest gas find was at a water depth of 3,832 feet and more than 6,000 feet below the seafloor.

Chevron announced two other natural gas discoveries off of Australia’s west coast in December, each at water depths of more than 3,000 feet. One well was drilled to nearly two miles below the seafloor.

The company said each of the wells found more than 150 feet of “net gas pay,” a measure of the vertical thickness of the hydrocarbon-bearing area.

Chevron’s latest discovery, Kentish Knock South-1, is located more than 80 miles from shore. It had 246 feet of net gas pay, which is the thickest of the three finds, but not as large as the company’s Acme-1 find, also off of Australia’s west coast. That discovery, in 2010, had 896 feet of net gas pay.

Natural gas production from Australia is a major piece of Chevron’s growth plans.

Chevron currently produces 101,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from aging wells in Australia, but two new projects are set to dramatically inflate that figure.

The company’s Gorgon LNG project, in which it has a 47 percent ownership stake, is set to produce 450,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day starting next year. Another massive liquefied natural gas project, called Wheatstone, is set to to boost Chevron’s production total by 180,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

But the new Australia discoveries will not count toward that total, meaning the company will have the opportunity to expand its LNG projects in Australia with natural gas from the new finds, Chevron spokesman Kurt Glaubitz said.

“The Asia Pacific region is key to Chevron’s growth strategy and our strong Australia natural gas portfolio continues to be bolstered by our strategic approach to finding and developing resources that will help meet the growing energy needs in the region,” Chevron Vice Chairman George Kirkland said in a statement.