The deepwater Gulf of Mexico holds an incredible amount of oil and gas. It's truly a world-class energy basin as so far the industry has discovered 77 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The challenge is getting that oil and gas out of the ground, which requires drilling some of the most difficult wells in the world. One company leading the way to meet those challenges head-on is Chevron (NYSE:CVX).
The company has a vast portfolio of projects either already in production or heading in that direction. The following map shows just how deep a position the company has in the region.
Notice that Chevon has a nice blend of projects already in production and those it's investing in to drive later production, as well as appraisal and exploration wells to fuel its future.
Looking ahead, 2014 will be a big year for the oil giant in the Gulf. The company has five major capital projects in the works, most of which are scheduled to begin production next year. The following slide details the production boost some of these projects are expected to deliver. Take note of the specific production capacities these projects are expected to offer.
These are truly massive projects. Chevron owns half of the Jack/St. Malo project, with partners including Statoil (NYSE:STO) owning the other half of the project. The project will cost $7.5 billion and will eventually include the connection of 43 subsea wells. For some perspective on the impact of this project consider that in 2012 Chevron only produced 125,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico. This project alone will add 88,500 barrels of oil equivalent production per day net to Chevron. That's a 71% boost to last year's production and it's just one of the projects the company is bringing online in 2014.
It's followed by the $4.1 billion Big Foot project, of which Chevron owns 60% in partnership with companies including Statoil. One of the more interesting facts on this project is that the hull for the offshore platform was actually manufactured in South Korea and required a three-month journey by sea before arriving in the U.S. Again, given Chevron's share of the production, this is a needle-moving project for the company.
Finally, Tubular Bells, which is operated by Hess (NYSE:HES) will be connected into a floating production system owned by Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) this year. It's the least expensive of these projects, costing a mere $2.3 billion; Chevron has an ownership share of 42.9%. The key to this project was using Williams. The company's proprietary floating production system is quicker to build so it reduces the cycle time between discovery and actually producing oil.
Chevron has a lot of oil coming online next year from that Gulf. That means that investors will finally begin to see returns from all the capital the company spent. Add it all up and 2014 has the potential to be a very good year for Chevron's investors.
High Oil Prices are the Key to Chevron's Returns
Fool contributor Matt DiLallo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron and Statoil (ADR). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.