Exxon Hikes Sakhalin-1 Forecast for This Year

ExxonMobil forecast annual production of 9.2 million tons (185,000 barrels per day) in 2008 from the offshore Sakhalin-1 oil and gas development, up from its earlier estimate, Interfax reported Tuesday.

A newly opened layer produced at higher levels than expected, allowing the Exxon-led project to revise upward previous production forecasts, which ranged from 7.9 million to 8.2 million tons for 2008, Dale Pittman, vice president of project operator Exxon Neftegas, told reporters in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Interfax reported.

Exxon estimated that production from the Pacific Ocean field in 2009 would fall by 1 million tons, or 11 percent, in comparison with 2008, Pittman said.

The drop in 2009 is because Exxon has not yet received permission to adjust the boundaries of the Chaivo licensed area at Sakhalin-1, he said.

Exxon spokeswoman Dilyara Sydykova confirmed the report.

Rosneft and India's ONGC Videsh both own 20 percent shares in the development. Japan's Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Company, or Sodeco, and Exxon both own stakes of 30 percent.

Sakhalin-1, one of three production-sharing agreements in Russia, moved to profitability in June after paying back costs, Interfax reported last month, citing a source close to the project.