Norwegian oil major Statoil has expanded its international offshore acreage portfolio by taking part in offshore lease sales in the UK and the US.
In the U.S., the company was deemed the high bidder on 13 leases in the central region Gulf of Mexico lease sale 247, which took place on Wednesday, March 22.
The company was the high bidder on all but two of the leases targeted, securing a stake in all of its main priorities. One of these two leases was taken by Shell who offered $24 million vs. Statoil’s $3.6 million. Shell’s offer was the highest bid for a single block in the whole lease sale.
The first sale in the post-Obama era garnered $274.8 million in high bids for 163 tracts covering 913,542 acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
The sale can be seen as a success since a total of 28 companies submitted 189 bids totaling $315 million. In comparison, the lease sale held in August 2016, only saw three companies take part, submitting a total of $18 million in bids.
Interestingly, Statoil had the second highest bid for a single block at $21 million, being only topped by Shell which offered $24 million for a single block.
Tore Løseth, the head of exploration in the US and Mexico, said: “We are very pleased with the results. The leases awarded reinforce Statoil’s exploration strategy of securing prospective acreage, while taking advantage of the cycle to access these leases at favorable rates in the US Gulf of Mexico.
“The results are the fruits from taking sufficient time to review lessons from our past exploration campaign, and from thoroughly strengthening our regional subsurface understanding of this area.”
All the bids are still subject to review and final approval by the authorities.
Since re-entering the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in 2004, Statoil has gained an ownership share in six producing fields, two projects under development, and one project in the definition phase.
Production from Statoil’s US offshore portfolio averaged at around 60,000 barrels per day in 2016 and, according to the company, Statoil expects that figure to nearly double by 2020 which will make it a “top-five” producer from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
In the UK, Statoil was awarded six licenses, five as operator and one as partner, in the 29th Offshore Licensing Round, announced by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) on Thursday.
Jez Averty, senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK in Statoil said: “Statoil has secured both drill ready prospects and frontier acreage, and the diversity of the awards is testament to Statoil’s belief in both the potential of the UK and that it remains an attractive place to explore.”
The five operated licenses are located in the northern North Sea. Statoil and partner BP have committed to three firm exploration wells in this area.
The sixth license awarded to Statoil, with Esso Exploration as operator, is located west of Scotland.
“These awards are a result of a strategic decision by Statoil to explore in prolific but mature basins, combined with an emphasis on comprehensive regional work and investments in the most modern seismic datasets. In addition, we continue to diversify the UK portfolio by exploring in the true frontier areas such as the Rockall Basin,” says Averty
Statoil says it has one of the most active exploration campaigns in the UK in 2017, with three exploration wells planned to be drilled over the summer. The three new well commitments will be integrated in future drilling plans.
Statoil is also developing the Mariner field on the UK Continental shelf, due to come on stream in 2018.
Offshore Energy Today Staff