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
How long does it take discovered oil to become gasoline at the
In general, about four years.
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.