Eight Orphan basin bids accepted in Atlantic off Newfoundland

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 18 -- A three-company group led by a ChevronTexaco Corp. unit won exploration rights Thursday on 8 deepwater parcels totaling 5.25 million acres in the frontier Orphan basin off Newfoundland.

All 8 parcels went to the combine of Chevron Canada Resources Ltd. 50% and Imperial Oil Resources Ltd. and ExxonMobil Canada Ltd. 25% each. The group bid successfully for parcels 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, and 12.

Parcel 11 drew the high bid of $251.6 million (Can.), Parcel 6 brought $181.3 million, and Parcel 10 brought $106.56 million. The other bids ranged from $2.2 million to $91.1 million. The eight bids totaled $673 million. Six parcels drew no bids.

Parcel 11 lies about 120 km north of the closest discoveries in the Jeanne d'Arc basin (OGJ Online, Mar. 25, 2003). The parcels that drew bids are generally 180-230 nautical miles east of the Newfoundland-Labrador coast.

Each bid represents the amount the bidders have committed to spend on exploration in the initial 5-year period of a 9-year exploration license. The Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board said it plans to issue exploration licenses in January 2004 as soon as the bidders satisfy requirements specified in the call for bids.

A new provision in the 2003 call gave companies the option to spend as much as 5% of the bid amount on research and development and education and training in the province.

The CNOPB also released the final strategic environmental assessment for the Northeast Newfoundland shelf and Orphan basin.

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