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UpstreamOnline: Shell splashes out in central Gulf

By Upstream staff

Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell topped the bidding in today’s sale of federal oil and gas leases in the central Gulf of Mexico, offering $90.5 million for Walker Ridge Block 7, the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) said.

Shell also topped the stakes in the value of high bids submitted, with $554.6 million offered on 69 bids, followed by US supermajor Chevron with $283.4 million bid on 44 tracts. Gulf players Marathon Oil, Cobalt Energy and Murphy Oil were also in the top five bidders by value.

However, UK supermajor BP recorded the most wins, with 83 bids submitted with a total value of $107 million dollars. Shell, Cobalt and Chevron were also in the top five along with Nexen Petroleum.

The MMS said today’s sale, Lease Sale 205 held in New Orleans, attracted $2.9 million in high bids, the second highest total in US history, as energy players wrestled for a stake of the action in the US’s premier producing region.

It said 1428 bids were received for 723 tracts, with the total value of all bids – winning and losing – hitting almost $5.3 billion.

The service said 5359 tracts were on offer today covering about 28.7 million acres off Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. It said about 40% of the tracts receiving bids were in ultra-deepwater below 1600 metres.

The deepest tract to receive a bid was for Amery Terrace Block 206 in 3398 metres of water.

“MMS expected the deep-water and ultra-deepwater areas of the central Gulf to receive a high level of interest in this sale,” said MMS Director Randall Luthi. “The progress being made both in terms of discoveries and advanced technology provide incentive for operators to explore these frontier areas.”
03 October 2007 21:41 GMT  | last updated: 03 October 2007 21:41 GMT


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