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Petroleum News: Repsol partners with Eni, Shell off Alaska in Beaufort Sea

Vol. 12, No. 39  Week of September 30, 2007

Repsol YPF has joined Shell and Eni in a block of 64 leases in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s North Slope. It’s the Spanish oil and gas major’s first acquisition in the state.

Shell and Eni exchanged working interests in the contiguous outer continental shelf leases last November. At that time Eni had a 60 percent interest in the acreage and Shell had 40 percent. Repsol picked up its 20 percent interest from Eni.

The exploration block is operated by Shell in the federal waters north of the Oooguruk, Nikaitchuq, Northstar and Kuparuk units, extending east to midway above the Prudhoe Bay unit.

Shell’s spokesman in Alaska, Curtis Smith, told Petroleum News Sept. 21 that the leases are in water depths ranging from 3 to 24 meters.

“The objective of the partnership is to acquire 3-D seismic with a view toward identifying future drill sites,” Smith said.

In its press release Repsol said “exploration activities” could start in 2009-10.

When asked by Petroleum News if Repsol was looking at additional investments in Alaska, Jorge S. O. Milanese referred the question to Repsol’s headquarters in Madrid. Milanese is in upstream business development and is based in The Woodlands, Texas.

Madrid officials had not replied by the time Petroleum News went to press late Sept. 27.

At the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority board meeting on May 9, ANGDA CEO Harold Heinze said that Repsol had recently established an “upstream position” in Alaska.

In April, Heinze met with Repsol as part of a series of meetings with companies that might have an interest in building a gas pipeline from the North Slope to Lower 48 markets. He was told Repsol had already entered Alaska, but was not given particulars.

In early September, Drue Pearce, the federal coordinator for Alaska gas pipeline projects, said she had heard Repsol was one of several companies that had expressed interest in building a gas pipeline from the North Slope. But Pearce also said she didn’t have any inside information that suggested Repsol was still interested.

An integrated oil and gas company engaged in all aspects of the petroleum business, Repsol has 30,000 employees and is one of the 10 largest private (not government-owned) petroleum companies in the world. It was founded in 1986 and last year had a net income of approximately $1.7 billion.

Although it operates in 30 countries, the bulk of Repsol’s assets are in Spain and Argentina.

According to Dow Jones, in mid-September Repsol signed a $15 billion contract to supply natural gas to Mexico from its Peruvian operations.

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