Statoil submits highest bid in Gulf of Mexico lease sale
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Norway's Statoil (STL.OL) submitted the highest bid on Wednesday in the first federal auction for drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico's prolific central region since BP Plc's (BP.L) disastrous 2010 oil spill.
Statoil bid $157 million to lease a tract about 70 miles southwest of BP's ill-fated Macondo well, which ruptured and spewed more than 4 million barrels of crude into the Gulf after an explosion killed 11 rig workers.
Statoil's bid illustrates its plan to triple its North American oil and gas production to 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2020, a fifth of that coming from the Gulf. <ID:L1E8HK4UE>
"When you see a $157 million bid for one tract, that is a great metric that tells the story about the huge amount of interest that we currently have with respect to oil and gas production in the Gulf," U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.
Regulators said Statoil's bid was the highest ever in the central Gulf.
However, analysts noted that fewer companies participated in Wednesday's sale than the last auction for drilling rights in the central Gulf in March 2010 about a month before the Macondo blowout.
On Wednesday 56 companies submitted bids, compared to 77 two years ago, according to Tudor Pickering Holt & Co.
Also, Simmons & Company International said in a note that 454, or 6 percent, of available tracts received bids, down from 7 percent of 468 tracts in 2010.
"The data depicts a less than robust sale with period-over-period comparisons down across the board," Simmons said.
Last December, the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held the first post-Macondo lease sale for areas in the western Gulf, where ConocoPhillips (COP.N) submitted the highest bid for a block at $103 million.
Wednesday's sale was the first post-spill auction in the central Gulf, home to the majority of oil and gas infrastructure in the basin.
The lease sale generated $1.7 billion in high bids, up from $949 million in the last auction two years ago though post-Macondo, BOEM increased the minimum bid for deepwater tracts to $100 from $37.50 per acre.
The total amount of bids submitted, including unsuccessful ones, reached $2.6 billion.
(Reporting By Kristen Hays; editing by Gunna Dickson)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this