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Chevron oil and gas exploration summary

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Report summary

Chevron's portfolio is in the midst of a big structural shift. Capital allocation is moving towards short-cycle opportunities, led by the Permian basin, where Chevron holds a large, low-royalty tight oil position. The company achieved full-cycle returns of 13% on its unconventional exploration during the 2007-2016 decade, the best performance among the Majors. This success was predicated on outstanding results in the Wolfcamp and Bone Spring sub-plays. Its conventional exploration performance remains highly dependent on two world-class, legacy deepwater regions: Australia and the US Gulf of Mexico. Both face challenges in commercialising the large volumes discovered. A select number of test areas could yield the next core region.

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Table of contents

  • Executive summary
    • Upstream strategy
    • Evolution of exploration strategy
  • Investment and costs
    • Well data
  • Reserves and resources
  • Production
    • Increasing focus on unconventionals as conventional exploration is scaled back
    • Legacy position in the Permian transformed by unconventional plays...
    • ...and balanced by acquisitions in the Northeast
    • Australia and deepwater US GoM have been key legacy regions
    • Incremental exploration accretive in legacy areas...
    • ...while moves into frontiers yet to create value
    • Canadian unconventionals targeted for near-term value and longer-term LNG ambitions
    • Vaca Muerta the sole success from a foray into shales and tight plays outside North America

Tables and charts

This report includes 24 images and tables including:


  • Basins drilled and all conventional & organic unconventional discoveries 2007-2016
  • Exploration & appraisal spend and reinvestment
  • Exploration & appraisal spend by water depth
  • Exploration & appraisal spend by basin maturity
  • Discovery costs by water depth
  • Volumes discovered by year
  • Volumes discovered by water depth
  • Volumes discovered by country
  • Volumes discovered by basin
  • Production from new field discoveries and organic unconventionals, and as a proportion of all future production
  • Net active exploration acreage by water depth
  • Net active exploration acreage by country
  • Exploration wells drilled and spend per well
  • Exploration success rates
  • Full cycle value creation by year, with uncons
  • Exploration returns by year, with uncons
  • Costs and development value by reserve category
  • Exploration returns by water depth


  • Ten year performance summary
  • Top 40 discoveries (2007 to 2016)
  • Key organic unconventional plays
  • Full-cycle economics
  • SWOT Grid
  • Gross exploration & appraisal wells by basin and sector

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