Preliminary drilling tests of a deep-water well in the Gulf of Mexico indicate that the site could boost U.S. oil and natural gas reserves by 50 percent. The Jack 2 well was drilled by San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron, along with Devon Energy of Oklahoma City and Norway's Statoil.
"The results of the Jack test are very encouraging," said Stephen Hadden, senior vice president of exploration and production. "They further support our positive view of the lower Tertiary trend and demonstrate the growth potential of our high-impact exploration strategy on long-term production, reserves, and value."
According to published reports, the Gulf of Mexico's lower-Tertiary formations could hold up to 15 billion barrels' worth of oil and gas reserves. By comparison, Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, the largest U.S. oil field, has produced 13 billion barrels of oil since 1977, with an estimated 3 billion recoverable barrels remaining. Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--not yet in production due to opposition from environmental activists--has an estimated 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Statistics from the Energy Information Administration peg current U.S. oil and gas reserves at around 30 billion barrels. Currently, the United States consumes about 20 million barrels a day.