ChevronTexaco Sees Nigeria Oil Vessel Contract Awarded 4Q

An award contract to build a floating, production, storage and offloading vessel for Nigeria's Agbami oil field is expected to be signed during the fourth quarter of 2004, a ChevronTexaco official said Tuesday.

Bids by three major companies - Korean conglomerates Daewoo and Hyundai, and Technip of France - are being evaluated, said Jim Pearce, General Manager for Deepwater ChevronTexaco, the operator of the Agbami field.

Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of an industry event in Abuja, Pearce said selecting the contractors involves three stages: pre-qualification, technical evaluation and commercial evaluation.

"We are very near evaluation of commercial bids," he said. The evaluations are being carried out by ChevronTexaco and state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNP.YY). ChevronTexaco operates the joint venture in which the Nigerian government, represented by NNPC, holds about 60% equity.

The Agbami field is one of Nigeria's deepwater fields presently being developed. It is expected to produce 250,000 barrels a day of crude oil when it comes on stream.

Pearce said production should start by the end of 2007 or early 2008, depending on when the vessel is finished.

He said the vessel will have a storage capacity for 2.3 million barrels of crude oil. It will be more than 1,000 meters long, 50 meters wide and three meters high.

Already, ChevronTexaco has drilled five appraisal and two development wells on the field, Pearce said. Another phase of drilling will begin in August, he said.