Chevron to Invest About $4B in Asia in 2007

Chevron Corp. (CVX), the second-largest U.S. oil company by market value, plans to invest approximately $4 billion in Asia this year, mainly for petroleum exploration and production.

"The company sees Asia as a very attractive place for investment for future growth," Chevron Asia South Ltd. Managing Director Steve Green told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview Friday.

"Of the company's total investment this year of around $20 billion, 20% of that is being invested in Asia."

Major investments in Asia include the Gorgon liquefied natural gas development project offshore Australia, building up production in Indonesia and Thailand, as well as exploration in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam, Green said.

Chevron targets to increase its global production by an average of more than 3% a year between now and 2010, he added.

At the end of 2006, Chevron's combined gross production of crude oil and natural gas averaged 2.25 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Asia currently accounts for 25% of Chevron's 62-billion-barrel-of-oil-equivalent global resource base.

Chevron's production in Thailand, where it is the largest natural gas supplier, will increase by at least 160 million standard cubic feet a day this year, following completion of its debottlenecking program late last year, Green said.

However, he declined to provide an estimate for Chevron's 2007 natural gas production in Thailand.

At end-March, the company's daily production averaged more than 144,000 barrels of oil, 73,000 barrels of condensate and 1.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Chevron is in final negotiations with Thailand's oil and gas giant PTT PCL (PTT.TH), the country's sole natural gas buyer, to supply an additional 330 mmscf/d of natural gas from its Platong II field in the Gulf of Thailand, Green said.

Production at Platong II is expected to start in 2010.

In 2007, the company's production in Bangladesh will increase by at least 200 million standard cubic feet a day after it officially started production at the Bibiyana field in March. Production at the field alone is targeted to rise to 500 mmscf/d by 2010, Green said.

In 2006, Chevron's total daily production in Bangladesh averaged 310 mmscf/d of natural gas.

"We're looking for onshore and offshore opportunities in China," Green said, adding that Chevron is also evaluating potential exploration projects in India.

The company has five exploration and production projects in China. Its total average daily production in 2006 from its interests in China was 100,000 barrels of crude oil and condensate and 54 mmscf/d of natural gas.

Chevron doesn't have any petroleum exploration projects in India. It owns a 5% stake in Reliance Petroleum Ltd., which is currently constructing a 580,000-barrel-a-day refinery.

In Cambodia, Chevron expects to finalize petroleum reserve estimation and exploration at its offshore oil and gas Block A in the next few months, after having drilled four exploration wells earlier this year, Green said without elaborating on the company's plans in Vietnam.

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