Chevron output decline rates at 4 percent

NEW YORK Wed Jun 22, 2005 10:44am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Output from oil major Chevron Corp.'s (CVX.N) existing oil and gas fields is declining at a rate of about 4 percent internationally, the company's head of production told the Reuters Energy Summit on Wednesday.

Decline rates at the company's North American fields stood at 6 percent or 7 percent, George Kirkland said.

"We have major efforts through all our businesses trying to mitigate these decline rates," Kirkland said.

Chevron has total net production of about 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day and owns about 8.2 billion boe of proved oil and gas reserves.

Declining production from existing wells has triggered a wave of spending by producers in recent years to find and develop new reserves, particularly in North American gas fields, to keep production levels steady.

Oil and gas producers use a variety of enhanced recovery techniques to limit output declines at producing reservoirs.

"That is hugely important for us," Kirkland said, adding that a 1 percent change in decline rates equaled about 25,000 barrels per day in output.

"We keep telling all our people we can't give up a large decline rate and offset that with just new projects," he added.

Chevron has said it aims to grow its international production by 3 percent on average over the long term.