PLUNGING into the deepest depths of the sea, energy companies are constantly searching for new oil
and gas resources to meet the global
population’s growing demand for en-
ergy. New technologies for deep water
drilling are allowing companies to push
the limits of oil exploration and give op-
erators the power to unlock reserves 500
feet or more below the surface. Some of
the biggest discoveries in the world are
located in offshore fields like the Libra
oil field off the coast of Brazil–estimated
to contain up to 12 billion barrels of oil.
Here are five companies that could
continue their dominance in offshore
development now and in the future:
Shell has been a pioneer in offshore
oil development with the company
announcing it would stay on target to
create the deepest offshore oil and gas
production project in the world last
year. The Dutch firm said it would
make an offshore oil platform in the
Gulf of Mexico that would produce
almost 2 miles down the surface.
The Gulf of Mexico is becoming
a hotbed of offshore oil and gas devel-
opment after the Mexican govern-
ment opened up its energy sector to for-
eign investors. The region is already
equipped with an extensive pipeline
infrastructure system with companies
such as Shell contemplating adding
pipe to account for growth in offshore
oil. Shell produced 3. 2 million barrels
of oil equivalent per day in 2013 with
sales of liquefied natural gas sales reach-
ing 19. 6 million tons. However, the
company reported a drop in revenue
from the previous year with net cash
flow decreasing to $40 billion from $46
billion in 2012.
Shell said it aims to work on deliver-
ing new projects, highlighting its proj-
ects off the coast of Mexico and Bra-
zil. Looking to the future, Shell said its
Mars field–discovered by the firm in
1989–in the Gulf of Mexico started pro-
duction in February this year and will
reach a peak production of 100,000 bar-
rels of oil equivalent per day in 2050.
The company also signed a production-
sharing contract for the Libra oil field.
2. Statoil AS
Based in Norway, Statoil is a major ener-
gy producer with 40 years of oil and gas
production experience on Norwegian
waters. Statoil said it had more than $26
billion in adjusted earnings and $25 bil-
lion in net operating income for 2013.
The company previously announced it
added 1. 25 billion barrels of oil equiva-
lent from exploration, recently achiev-
ing its highest organic reserve replace-
ment ratio with 1. 47 last year.
Statoil projects include the Oseberg
East field, an offshore oil field in the
North Sea, which has 41. 5 million barrels of recoverable oil, according to Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. Recently, ExxonMobil and Statoil announced
a major offshore discovery in the Piri
prospect in offshore Tanzania–where
Statoil has been operating since 2007.
The company is banking on the profitability of emerging technologies, saying new innovations will be critical in
keeping the company’s costs low. Statoil
said it is considering producing a subsea
compressor that could increase its natural gas production and reduce the impact
of its operations on the environment.
In Chevron’s 2013 annual report, the
company headquartered in California said it earned $21.4 billion in sales,
increasing its annual dividend payout to
stockholders for the 26th-straight year.
The company said it added an estimated 800 million barrels of net oil equiv-alent proved reserves with projects last
year. Chevron aims to increase production with a capital and exploratory budget of almost $40 billion in 2014, focusing on core areas as well as building new
legacy positions in the upstream market.
This year, the company has several
5 Top Offshore Oil Companies
and their Future Outlook