MMS Lease Sale 204 attracts $290 million in high bids

Apparent high bids totaling nearly $290 million were offered for 282 tracts in the western Gulf of Mexico at Lease Sale 204, reported MMS Aug. 22 from New Orleans.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 22 -- Apparent high bids totaling nearly $290 million were offered for 282 tracts in the western Gulf of Mexico at Lease Sale 204, reported the US Minerals Management Service Aug. 22 from New Orleans.

MMS officials received 358 bids totaling $369.5 million from 47 companies at the sale. Interest in deepwater and ultradeepwater tracts was high. Of the tracts receiving bids, 108 blocks were in 800-1,600 m of water, 43 were in 1,600-2,000 m of water, and 30 were in more than 2,000 m of water.

The latest sale offered 3,338 blocks covering 18 million acres in the western gulf's Outer Continental Shelf planning area off Texas.

MMS Director Randall Luthi said: "The success of this lease sale once again demonstrates the industry's commitment and interest in the gulf. The bidding in this sale is an indicator that [the gulf] will continue to be a strong source for the nation's energy production in the future."

Sale statistics
Based on the number of total apparent high bids submitted, BP Exploration & Production Inc. topped the list with 91 bids totaling more than $31 million.

Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC, however, placed 36 high bids totaling nearly $139 million—the highest total sum offered—and it held second place after BP for total number of apparent high bids submitted. All of these leases were in the Alaminos Canyon and Keathley Canyon areas of the gulf.

Statoil captured seven of the top 10 single highest bids submitted. It submitted the highest single bid of $37.6 million for Alaminos Canyon Block 810, which lies in more than 2,000 m of water.

"We are very pleased with the result of this lease sale," said Statoil Senior Vice-Pres. Oivind Reinertsen, in the company's Houston office. "These deepwater leases are promising acreage [that] we look forward to developing in the years to come, and they will contribute to securing our long-term commitment in the area."

The third highest single bid was submitted by Devon Energy Production Co. LP for Keathley Canyon Block 94. Devon, along with partner Petrobras America Inc., submitted more than $15.1 million for the tract, which lies in 800-1,600 m of water.

LLOG Exploration Offshore Inc. held the seventh highest spot for its $8.6 million bid on a tract in High Island, Area 138. Bois d'Arc Properties LP held the tenth highest spot for its $5.7 million bid for Alaminos Canyon Block 943.

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