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Chevron Indonesia Unit Starts $500 Million Steam-Oil Project

Chevron Corp.’s Indonesian unit, the nation’s largest producer of crude, started a $500 million expansion of the project at Duri field in Sumatra.

At peak production, the site at North Duri Development Area 13 is forecast to add 17,000 barrels a day to production, PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia said in an e-mailed statement today. A Chevron spokesman in Singapore confirmed the news.

The North Duri 13 project will add 539 new wells, including 145 using a technology known as steam injection to increase production yields, the company said. Steam flooding involves injecting steam into wells to ease the flow of heavy oil.

The project follows an expansion in Area 12 that was completed in 2009, adding 40,000 barrels a day to production, it said. The Duri field is one of the world’s largest steam-flood projects.

Chevron Pacific may produce 343,212 barrels of oil a day this year, about 39 percent of Indonesia’s total output, according to data from the nation’s oil and gas regulator, BPMigas.

Indonesia is trying to stem production decline as older fields pump less crude. The nation withdrew from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2008 amid falling output.

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