Statoil (STO) and operator Exxon Mobil (XOM) have decided to sanction the Julia field development in the Gulf of Mexico. The field, located approximately 200 miles south of New Orleans, Louisiana, was discovered in 2007 and is estimated to have nearly six billion barrels of resource in place. The announcement confirms the agreement between operator Exxon Mobil and Statoil to proceed with field development, estimated to take approximately three years. The partners each own 50% of the field. Julia will be a subsea tieback to the Jack and St. Malo floating production platform, located approximately 15 miles away, which is operated by Chevron (CVX). Statoil also is a co-owner in the Jack and St. Malo developments, sanctioned in 2010. Drilling operations are planned to start in 2014, and production start-up is planned for 2016. The lifetime of the Julia field is estimated to be up to 40 years, with an initial production rate of up to 34,000 barrels of oil per day.