Gulf sale draws 56 bidders for shelf, deepwater tracts

Oil and gas companies offered $2.6 billion for Gulf of Mexico acreage blocks June 20 at federal lease sale 216/222 conducted by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Oil and gas companies offered $2.6 billion for Gulf of Mexico acreage blocks June 20 at federal lease sale 216/222 conducted by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

BOEM said 56 companies submitted 593 bids for 454 of the 7,434 tracts offered. The $1.7 billion in high bids were for a combined 2.4 million acres, or about 6% of the blocks and 6% of the area made available. The federal royalty rate on all blocks is 18-3/4%.

Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC submitted the sale’s high bid of $157.1 million for Mississippi Canyon Block 718, lying between Mars and Pluto fields.

Apache Corp. and its Apache Deepwater LLC unit submitted a combined 109 total bids, the most of any company, 90 of them high bids. Apache exposed $135 million, of which $96 million were high bids. Apache Corp. alone made 61 high bids.

Shell Offshore Inc. bid a combined $406.6 million, the sale’s top combined bonus amount for high bids, coming in first on 24 tracts. Statoil tendered a combined $333 million in high bids, BP Exploration & Production Inc. $239.5 million, and Chevron USA Inc. $189.5 million.

BP submitted 43 high bids, Chevron 29, Statoil and Stone Energy Offshore LLC 26 each, ConocoPhillips 24, Arena Energy LP 23, ExxonMobil Corp. 22, and BHP Billiton (Deepwater) Inc. 20.

BP lodged the sale’s second high bid, $110.4 million for Keathley Canyon Block 745 adjacent to the Walker Ridge planning area.

Shell placed 5 of the sale’s 10 top high bids and 7 of the sale’s 20 top high bids.

Among non-US high bidders after BP’s 43, Statoil’s 26, and BHP Billiton’s 20 were Total E&P USA Inc. 10, Maersk Oil Gulf of Mexico Two LLC 7, Ecopetrol America Inc. 6, Repsol E&P USA Inc. 5, and Nexen Petroleum Offshore USA Inc. 4. Petrobras submitted no bids.

Baker Hughes tallied 47 rigs actually making hole in the Gulf of Mexico in the week ended June 15. The January-early June average was 44 rigs in 2012 compared with 28 in 2011.

Of the 454 high bids, 43% were for shelf blocks in less than 200 m of water and 32% were for tracts in 1,600 m of water or deeper. The deepest-water block to draw a bid was Lund Block 965 in 3,062 m of water adjacent to the Henderson planning area.

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