Houston-based ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), BP PLC (NYSE: BP), and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) are forming an alliance to develop oil projects in the Keathley Canyon region of the Gulf of Mexico.
The three oil giants are restructuring ownership interests in the deepwater Gulf to optimize recent discoveries and development for offshore oil exploration.
The deal includes Chevron acquiring half of BP’s interest in the Gila and Tiber prospects, which BP discovered in 2009 and 2013 respectively. Additionally, the trio have come to terms with joint ownership interest in the Gibson field, covering a six-lease area. The alliance includes a total of 24 jointly held Gulf of Mexico leases.
In the announcement, Jeff Shellebarger, president of Chevron North America states, “By collaborating across several prospects and discoveries, and incorporating the technologies and experience of the three companies, we expect to develop these fields in the most cost effective way and shorten the time to final investment decision and first production.”
The primary reason for the partnership is to develop current and new discoveries in a cost efficient manner. With crude oil prices falling more than 50 percent since last June, the companies are minimizing project risk by keeping development cost low.
The three companies are evaluating plans for a centralized production facility, similar to Chevron’s Jack/St. Malo project as a way to cut cost and optimize resources.
BP had started reorganizing its operations in an effort to meet financial and legal obligations from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. The blast that spilled oil across the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 workers has resulted in the company selling more than $40 billion in assets. Monday BP announced it was freezing the wages of its 80,000 employees.
Over the next three years, the Gulf region is expected to add 700,000 barrels per day to US oil production rates.