Chevron, Shell among high bidders in central gulf sale

Chevron Corp., ExxonMobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and Statoil ASA mostly led the way as Gulf of Mexico central planning area Lease Sale 235 drew 195 bids on 169 blocks from 42 companies, reported the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which held the event Mar. 18 in New Orleans.

The sum of high bids was $539 million. BOEM made available 7,788 tracts covering 41 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama (OGJ Online, Oct. 16, 2014).

Last year’s central gulf Lease Sale 231 received 380 bids on 326 blocks from 50 companies, resulting in a total of $850 million in apparent high bids (OGJ Online, Mar. 19, 2014).

BOEM estimates Lease Sale 235—the seventh under the Obama administration’s Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing program for 2012-17—could result in production of 460-894 million bbl of oil and 1.9-3.9 tcf of natural gas. The first six sales offered more than 60 million acres and netted $2.4 billion.

Chevron again with highest sum  

Chevron USA Inc. led all companies with $78.61 million in total apparent high bids after submitting 11, including the second and third single highest bids alongside Venari Offshore LLC of $43.14 million for Green Canyon Block 761 and $41.12 million for Green Canyon Block 760.

Shell Offshore Inc. placed first in total apparent high bids at 17, which totaled $37.89 million. Statoil was second with 14 bids totaling $51.43 million.

“The acreage high bid today completes our ownership of the Monument prospect, brings additional prospects in to our portfolio, and strengthens our position in prioritized areas of the US Gulf of Mexico,” said Jez Averty, Statoil senior vice-president, exploration for North America.

Venari Offshore submitted 12 apparent high bids totaling $35.83 million. ExxonMobil Corp. submitted 11 apparent high bids totaling $52.95 million.

The single largest bid, however, came from Houston Energy LP and Red Willow Offshore LLC, which jointly submitted $52.22 million for Walker Ridge Block 107. That bid boosted Red Willow, owned by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe of Southwest Colorado, to second in sum of high bids at $58.97 million. It submitted 8 high bids overall.

BP Exploration & Production Inc. only submitted 4 apparent high bids totaling $4.42 million.

That’s down considerably compared with last year’s central gulf Lease Sale 231, in which BP E&P submitted 24 high bids totaling $41.63 million following an agreement effectively ending the ban against it on new federal contracts; and last August’s western gulf Lease Sale 238, in which the company submitted 27 high bids totaling $22.84 million (OGJ Online, Aug. 20, 2014).

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