Chevron Approaches Oil Cos over Big Foot Farm-Out

HOUSTON (Dow Jones Newswires), Feb. 10, 2009

Chevron Corp. has approached rival oil producers about the possibility of acquiring part of its stake in the Big Foot oil field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, a person familiar with the situation said.

Plans are at a preliminary stage and have so far involved the exchange of technical data on the deepwater oil field, but Chevron may appoint advisers if interest in a deal is strong enough, the person said.

The person didn't specify how large a stake Chevron would be willing to sell, but added that the San Ramon, California-based oil giant would likely remain the largest partner in Big Foot, which was discovered in 2006.

Chevron has a 60% interest in the Big Foot field, while Norway's StatoilHydro ASA and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have stakes of 27.5% and 12.5%, respectively.

"Chevron is not currently in any discussions on a sale or partial sale of Big Foot," said Mickey Driver, a spokesman for Chevron.

Big Foot is located in more than 1,500 meters of water on Walker Ridge 29, approximately 362 kilometers south of New Orleans, and 290 miles offshore.

Exploration and appraisal wells drilled over the past three years have indicated Big Foot has as much as 90 meters or more of net oil pay.

A presentation by Paul Siegele, vice-president of Deep Water Exploration & Projects, in Nov. 2007 ranked Big Foot as the eighth biggest deepwater oil field discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in which Chevron has an interest.

Citing data from oil and gas consultancy Wood Mackenzie, Siegele said at the time that Big Foot has 200 million barrels of oil equivalent potentially recoverable.

Chevron said last year it was "evaluating a range of production development options for the Big Foot prospect."  

(Isabel Ordonez in Houston contributed to this story.)

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