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Keeping It Simple

Have a Seat - This May Take A While

Short answer:

In general, about four years.


Editor's note: We don't have a crystal ball, but we're guessing that when the January EXPLORER hit your desk, oil was a hot topic wherever you happened to be.

With that in mind, here's another installment in our series of brief, accessible answers to questions that you'll probably be asked, as soon as your friends -- or enemies? -- assume that as a member of the petroleum industry, you're supposed to know everything.

How long does it take discovered oil to become gasoline at the pump?

Longer answer: It depends on where the discovery happens and what production facilities are already in place. With more oil coming from remote areas, the lag time gets longer.

The first discovery in the Boomvang field in the East Breaks area of the Gulf of Mexico happened in 1997. Kerr-McGee confirmed the play as commercial with a well in 1999.

Production began on June 24 last year, and company officials were delighted. That's five years, best we can count.

"First production occurred less than 24 months after project sanctioning, a notable achievement for a major deepwater development," said Kenneth Crouch, senior vice president, oil and gas exploration and production.

Partners in the gas/oil field also lucked out because a deep sea pipeline already existed in the East Breaks area.

Full production is expected by the middle of 2003.

The bigger and more remote the discovery, the longer this process takes. For Prudhoe Bay, the trip to production took almost 10 years.


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