* Ultradeep project spurs confidence in Gulf of Mexico
* Statoil ups stake in St. Malo
HOUSTON, March 9 The ultradeep St. Malo project
has strengthened Statoil's (STL.OL) confidence in its decision
to invest in offshore Gulf of Mexico projects, Statoil's Chief
Executive Helge Lund said on Tuesday.
"A few years ago we decided to increase our activities in
the Gulf of Mexico," Lund told Reuters in an interview. "St.
Malo has really strengthened our confidence."
Statoil said on Tuesday it has upped its interest in the
deepwater St. Malo field in the Gulf to 21.5 percent by
exercising its preemption rights and breaking up a sale partner
Devon Energy (DVN.N) had planned to make to Maersk (MAERSKb.CO)
St. Malo is operated by Chevron Corp (CVX.N) and is
expected to come on line in 2014 along with the Jack field.
Both are developments in the lower tertiary trend of the
deepwater Gulf of Mexico -- a geological formation seen as a
potential source of significant new supplies in the offshore
Statoil is the third largest leaseholder in these ultradeep
waters, which include an additional two discoveries. Statoil is
also currently engaged in two deepwater Gulf of Mexico drilling
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Marguerita Choy)