One of the most significant developments was the entry of the Republic of Chad’s national hydrocarbon company, La Société des Hydrocarbures du Tchad (SHT), into the Consortium which owns the project. In June, Chad purchased Chevron’s 25% stake in the project, fulfilling the country’s long-held goal of becoming an active participant in the Consortium. On behalf of Esso Exploration and Production Chad Inc. (EEPCI), I am pleased to welcome SHT to the Consortium as a strong, valuable and long-term business partner.
Another very positive development was that EEPCI produced 10% more oil in 2014 than was anticipated at the beginning of the year. This accomplishment was the result of the deployment of multiple new techniques that have allowed us to drill wells faster and more efficiently; development of additional natural gas resources needed to power our operations; and increased maintenance efficiency, significantly reducing downtime in the field. At the same time, we also began implementing a pilot program involving the use of non-toxic polymers that has the potential to increase oil recovery from our existing wells. This technique has proven to be particularly effective in enhancing the recovery of heavier oil like that found in the Doba fields.
All of these actions have helped make the economics of new wells more attractive, particularly in today’s volatile energy market environment. As a result, in the fourth quarter the companies that make up the Consortium decided to implement an expanded drilling program that has the potential to cut drilling costs and sustain oil production in the future. We will pilot this program in 2015 and 2016 to see if we can continue to lower costs and justify continued investment in the program.
As the number of expatriate employees continues to be reduced as part of our nationalization strategy, more of our Chadian employees are stepping into supervisory and management roles. I am very proud to report that six of EEPCI’s fifteen senior managers, and all of our engineering supervisors are now Chadians. This is a significant accomplishment for a technology company that relies on highly skilled leaders and technical experts, and is attributable not only to the talent and skill in our national workforces, but to our mentoring program which fosters and supports upward mobility at all levels throughout the company.
In addition to constantly striving to be a responsible employer, we remain focused on being a good neighbor to the communities near our operations, continuing the many programs that have been successfully implemented for years, and taking a fresh look at areas where we can improve. For example, a new approach to community engagement calls for senior EEPCI managers to regularly visit villages and engage in relationship building and two- way communication with local leaders. The result has been more productive outcomes on a number of important issues.
I would like to close by thanking our employees and contractors for all their hard work in 2014. Taken together, I believe EEPCI’s accomplishments have created a strong framework for continued stability, progress and success in the coming year and beyond.
Effective 28 February 2015, Scott Miller resigned from his position as General Manager of EEPCI and retired from ExxonMobil Corporation. He is replaced by Christian Lenoble, the General Manager of COTCO/TOTCO since 2011. ExxonMobil has named Johnny Malec as General Manager of COTCO/ TOTCO. Mr. Malec has been an employee of ExxonMobil Chemicals for more than 35 years and has held numerous management positions in France, Canada, Singapore and the United States.