ChevronTexaco Sells Part Of Thai Exploration Block Stake

An affiliate of the U.S. oil company ChevronTexaco announced Monday that it will sell a share of an offshore oil exploration block in the Gulf of Thailand to Japan's Mitsui Oil Exploration Co.

Chevron Offshore (Thailand) Ltd. announced that the Thai government had given it permission to sell a 25% share of the G4/43 block covering approximately 9,600 square kilometers (3,840 square miles) in the northern part of the gulf.

Chevron said in a statement that during the period the sale to Mitsui was being formalized, two exploration wells in the block found oil and gas, although in quantities not yet probably commercial.

Chevron is the operator of the shallow water block, which was awarded in July 2003 to Chevron and Thailand's PTTEP International Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of PTT Exploration and Production PCL (PTTEP.TH), the exploration arm of Thailand's state oil company.

Mitsui's purchase will come out of Chevron's original 85% holding, leaving the U.S. company with a 60% share, while PTTEP International retains its original 15% holding. The announcement didn't say when the sale would be completed.

ChevronTexaco holds several offshore blocks in the Gulf of Thailand in both Thai and Cambodian waters. Its Thai concession block B8/32 holds several producing fields, which had a production rate of approximately 48,000 barrels of oil a day in 2003, making it Thailand's largest oil producer, Chevron said.