50 years of pioneering in the north sea

Over half a century ago, on December 26, 1964, Chevron's joint venture operator Amoseas (American Overseas Petroleum Ltd.) drilled the first North Sea well, 165 miles offshore the United Kingdom. Though it was dry, the well broke new ground in offshore operations, proving the capability of drilling year-round in the North Sea's harsh environment.

Chevron celebrating 50 years in the North Sea
Chevron celebrating 50 years in the North Sea
Subsea illustration of Highlander
Vessels near Alba heavy oil field
Captain platform
Britannia platform
Stenaca ship
Alder manifold insert (subsea illustration)
Captain EOR subsea schematic

Two years later, Amoseas made its first discovery, when its offshore rig, Endeavour, struck gas on Block 48/7. Since that discovery, Chevron has continued to develop the oil and gas resources under the U.K. North Sea.

Ninian, discovered in 1974, would set a new standard for massive. At the time of construction, the Ninian Central Platform, the giant of the field's three platforms, was the largest man-made object ever moved. Ninian went on to produce its billionth barrel of oil in 1996.

Aided by 4-D seismic surveying, the Alba heavy oil field was one of the first shallow Eocene reservoirs successfully developed in the North Sea. Gulf Oil discovered Alba in 1984, just before merging with Chevron.

One year later, Highlander came onstream, establishing Chevron as the leader in remote subsea tieback technology. Production utilized a subsea processing system called a "slugcatcher" that separated fluids and gas at the base of the nearby Tartan platform.

Another industry first was the use of downhole pumps at the heavy- oil, low-pressure Captain Field. Advances in horizontal drilling and downhole pumps in well bores enabled Texaco to develop the field in 1997, some 20 years after its discovery. Texaco merged with Chevron in 2001.

The Britannia Field was the largest natural gas and condensate field in the North Sea when it was discovered in 1975. After achieving production in 1998, it produced enough gas to meet at least 8 percent of the U.K.'s energy needs.

Chevron continues to collaborate with its Aberdeen-based Global Technology Center to apply pioneering technologies to discover and produce energy resources in the North Sea. Currently, the high-pressure, high-temperature Alder Field comprises one of the most complex wells drilled in the North Sea. And at Captain, Chevron is working with partners to deploy a new polymer injection technology to maximize oil recovery.