Chevron production begins at Jack/St Malo project in Gulf of Mexico, south of New Orleans

Chevron Corp. says crude oil and natural gas production has begun at the Jack/St. Malo project in the Gulf of Mexico about 280 miles south of New Orleans.

The company said in a news release Tuesday that the fields are 25 miles apart and are among the largest in the Gulf. Drilling is 7,000 feet deep in the area, discovered in 2004 and 2003.

Chevron says the project is a key part of its exploration and development projects, and was on time and within budget.

The company says that over 30 years or more, the fields should yield the equivalent of more than 500 million barrels of oil.

Daily production is expected to reach 94,000 barrels of crude oil and 21 million cubic feet of natural gas.