GOM lease sale raises US$1.2B

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The latest Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 227 held Wednesday drew $1.2 billion in high bids for tracts spanning the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Statoil was the highest bidder on 15 leases, the company announced on 20 March 2013.

(Image: Chevron-Statoil ASA)

“The lease additions underscore our commitment to increased investment in North America, which we see as a core region for long-term growth,” said Erik Finnstrom, Statoil senior vice president of Exploration for Statoil in North America. “Walker Ridge 271 was our number one priority lease and we are very pleased to have placed the highest bid on this impact prospect that we call Monument.”

Statoil is a partner in three producing Gulf of Mexico fields and has seven fields under development. In a press release, the company said, as an operator, it plans to drill 2-3 wells in the Gulf of Mexico within the next year; it also plans to participate in the drilling of an additional 1-2 wells with its partners.

The US Department of the Interior said during the lease sale 52 offshore companies submitted a total of 407 bids on 320 tracts, covering approximately 1.7 million acres.

“Today’s sale reflects strong, continuing industry interest in the Gulf of Mexico,” said US Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who was present at the sale. “Developing public energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico is good for the Gulf’s economy, and reflects President Obama’s commitment to expand oil and natural gas production safely and responsibly, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and supporting American energy jobs.”

Lease Sale 227, conducted by Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), included 7,299 blocks, covering about 38.6 million acres, located from three to about 230 nautical miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 9ft to more than 11,115ft (3m to 3,400m). BOEM estimates the areas available for sale could result in the production of up to 890 million barrels of oil, and 3.9 Tcf of natural gas.

Wednesday’s lease sale is the second under the new Obama Administration’s five year program, and the first of its five scheduled Central Gulf of Mexico lease sales.

“The Central Gulf of Mexico is one of the cornerstones of the United States’ domestic energy portfolio, and is central to meeting the Nation’s energy needs and fueling the economy,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management and BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “BOEM is committed to promoting safe and responsible development of the Nation’s offshore energy resources, while safeguarding marine and coastal environments.”

National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Randall Luthi called the lease sale an accurate barometer of the offshore industry’s interest in the Gulf of Mexico region.

“This sale also serves as a reminder that offshore oil and natural gas are a vital part of an ‘all of the above energy strategy’,” Luthi said. “NOIA believes that this ‘all of the above’ strategy should apply to more than the limited areas where exploration is currently allowed.

“We will continue to advocate for greater access to the 85% of the outer continental shelf that remains closed under the current offshore leasing plan and where the lack of modern seismic data leaves us guessing as to its true resource potential,” he said. “Opening new offshore areas will open the door to new jobs, energy, and even more revenue to the federal treasury which could be used to help reduce the federal deficit.”

Categories: Activity Production North America Gulf of Mexico

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