Despite a recession and tough market, Chevron Corp. grew its production last year by 7 percent and will keep ramping it up in the next few years, CEO John Watson told shareholders Wednesday at the annual meeting in Houston.
The centerpiece of that growth will be the company's Gorgon and Wheatstone natural gas projects in Australia, said George Kirkland, executive vice president of global upstream and gas.
The $37 billion Gorgon project is expected to first produce liquid natural gas in 2014. Wheatstone is in the front-end engineering and design stage, and a final investment decision is expected in 2011.
Kirkland said the company plans to begin oil and gas production over the next three years in 10 capital projects that cost more than $1 billion each.
Seven multibillion-dollar startups in countries including Angola, Thailand, China and Nigeria, are planned for 2011 and 2012.
The oil giant, based in San Ramon, sometimes schedules its annual meeting in Houston. Outside the meeting, about 80 protesters said the firm's operations violate human rights and pollute the environment. The protest was organized by the True Cost of Chevron Network, a coalition that produces an alternative annual report condemning the company's practices. Five protesters were arrested, and the group complained that its members who held shareholders' proxies were denied admittance.
"Of the 37 delegates from the Network with validly executed proxy statements, only seven were allowed to enter the meeting, contradicting Chevron's own policies and in potential violations of corporate governance laws," the coalition said.
Four of the five arrested are from the Bay Area. They include Antonia Juhasz, lead author for the "True Cost" alternative report, as well as Mitchell Anderson, the Rev. Ken Davis and Han Shan. Davis is a member of Communities for a Better Environment, which has fought Chevron's plans for upgrading its Richmond refinery. Anderson and Shan are part of Amazon Watch, which wants Chevron to settle a $27 billion Ecuadoran lawsuit against the company.
Chevron spokesman Lloyd Avram said some of the coalition members' proxies were not valid because new rules this year limit each shareholder to a single proxy.
Chronicle staff writer David R. Baker contributed to this report.