ConocoPhillips posts most high bids at US Gulf of Mexico lease sale: BOEM
New Orleans (Platts)--28Nov2012/224 pm EST/1924 GMT
ConocoPhillips captured the highest total number of apparent high bids
during Wednesday's US Gulf of Mexico lease sale, but Chevron pledged the most
money for blocks, according to statistics supplied by the federal sale
The bids were submitted during the lease sale in New Orleans and are
subject to review by the lease sale sponsor, the Bureau of Ocean Energy
ConocoPhillips showed 62 apparent highest bids, with 46 of those bids in
the Alaminos Canyon, according to BOEM.
Tracts in the Alaminos Canyon were the most widely bid during the
Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 229. A cluster of blocks in that area
received two bids each. For all of those blocks, ConocoPhillips and Chevron
were the bidders.
ConocoPhillips also apparently had the highest bids in the East Breaks
blocks and Port Isabel.
The East Breaks blocks are located near Anadarko Petroleum's
Nansen-Boomvang complex which the company is redeveloping.
Chevron was the apparent highest bidder for a cluster of blocks in the
East Breaks area during the sale, elbowing out ExxonMobil and Anadarko.
Chevron bid a total of $56 million to win 28 blocks, according to the
data. Chevron bid anywhere from $3.1 million to $17.2 million for the East
Break tracts -- far outdistancing the nearest rival offer, BOEM Director
Tommy Beaudreau said in reading those bids at the start of the sale. The
$17.2 million was the highest of the sale.
The third highest bidder was BHP Billiton with $14.5 million for 10
blocks. ExxonMobil had $5.9 million worth of high bids, according to the
ExxonMobil submitted eight bids and apparently had the highest with four
of them for a 50% success rate, said ExxonMobil spokesman Patrick McGinn said
in an interview after the sale.
"We think the Gulf of Mexico has great potential," McGinn said. It's
been a big source of domestic energy for the US for the past 50 years. We
think it has the potential for decades more ability to provide domestic
energy for the US."
All of the bids apparently captured by ExxonMobil were in deepwater
blocks that will take years to develop, McGinn said.
"These are exploration blocks ... there is a long way between
exploration and development," he said. "It takes a few years to get to the
point where you've selected the exact target you want to go after and you get
all the permits. It's a lengthy process."
For the lease sale, 91% of the bids were made for blocks in deepwater of
800 meters or greater. Just 11 bids were placed in shallow waters of 200
meters or less, according to the data. The deepest block receiving a bid was
691 in the Alaminos Canyon at 2,843 meters, according to the data. The block
was apparently taken by ExxonMobil, according to the data.
High bids for Wednesday's Western Gulf of Mexico lease sale totaled
$133.7 million, while the total amount bid was $157.6 million, BOEM said.
Western Sale 229 captured a total of 131 bids across 116 blocks. By
contrast, bidders made 241 offers for 191 tracts in Western Sale 218 in
December 2011, BOEM records show. The sum of the high bids for the December
sale was $337.6 million, with ConocoPhillips as the top bidder with 75 total
high bids totaling $157.8 million.
--Bridget Hunsucker, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Katharine Fraser, email@example.com