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New Oil Discovery


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Some good news for once.




Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. have found oil off the coast of Gabon in West Africa in a deposit that could hold as much as 1 billion barrels of oil and gas.

The discovery could be the largest find so far this year.


San Ramon-based Chevron (NYSE: CVX) operates the field and owns 51 percent. It bought its stake in 2004, and started exploratory drilling in January. Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) owns a 40 percent stake, with the remaining 9 percent stake held by Dangote Energy Equity Resources. Dangote is partly owned by Aliko Dangote, a wealthy businessman from northern Nigeria. He was a big fund-raiser in the 2003 re-election of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.


The well was drilled in the Nigeria Saõ Tomé and Principe Joint Development Zone, in the deep waters of the Gulf of Guinea, approximately 190 miles north of the island of Saõ Tomé.

Chevron said it was reviewing the drilling results from the Obo-1 well to determine the next steps in its exploration program.


Chevron also found oil this month south of Saõ Tomé, off the coast of Angola, where it is the largest oil producer. The enclave of Cabinda, a bit of Angolan territory north of the Congo river and separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of Congo (fomerly known as Zaire), has many offshore oil deposits. Cabinda is close to Gabon.


On March 7, Chevron CEO David O'Reilly outlined a plan to grow annual production more than 3 percent a year for the next five years.

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