Discoverer Clear Leader Kicks Off Drilling in Deepwater GOM

Chevron announced that the Discoverer Clear Leader, an ultra-deepwater drillship newly built to Chevron's specifications, has begun work for Chevron in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico under a five-year contract with Transocean. The state-of-the-art vessel is capable of drilling wells in 12,000 feet (3,650 meters) of water to a total depth of 40,000 feet (12,200 meters), surpassing the limits of previous technology.

"The Discoverer Clear Leader offers the most-advanced drilling capabilities in the offshore drilling industry and will enable Chevron to expand the search for new domestic sources of energy," said George Kirkland, executive vice president, Upstream and Gas, Chevron.

Chevron is one of the top lease holders and producers in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The drillship will begin work for Chevron at several of its deepwater projects, including Tahiti and Jack/St. Malo.

The Discoverer Clear Leader is the first of two new drillships to be commissioned for Chevron. The second vessel, the Discoverer Inspiration, is expected to be delivered in early 2010.

The drillship features Transocean's patented dual-activity drilling technology designed to enable parallel drilling operations from a single derrick, saving time and money in deepwater well construction compared with conventional rigs.

Chevron has already established itself as a leader in drilling capabilities. The company holds the current world water-depth drilling record of 10,011 feet (3,051 meters) of water in the Gulf of Mexico.