Gulf Of Mexico Lease Sale: Statoil 15, BP 0

Erik Finnstrom, Statoil North America
Erik Finnstrom, senior vice president, Exploration, Statoil North America

BP refrained today from bidding on any new oil-drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) following the US government’s recent decision to prevent the oil giant from accepting new government contracts.

Citing a “lack of business integrity” as witnessed during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued the contract suspension against BP   in November until the company can “provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets Federal business standards.”

BP’s failure to bid may have resulted in lower leasing costs for BP’s competitors, not to mention shows the company’s lack of confidence that it can meet the EPA’s criteria within the 90 days that it takes for the Department of the Interior to review and accept bids on new leases.

In a press announcement Statoil claims to have won 15 new leases in Wednesday’s government lease sale. With this addition, Statoil will control the right to drill or produce over 340 leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Statoil also made the highest bid, at $81.8 million, in a joint bid with Samson Offshore LLC.

“We are pleased with today’s outcome,” says Erik Finnstrom, Statoil senior vice president of Exploration for Statoil in North America. “This addition of leases allows us to further build upon our broad-based strategy for exploration in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and further upgrades our core position in this prolific and proven basin.”

Statoil is partner in three GoM producing fields and seven fields under development. The company plans to drill two to three wells within the next 12 months in the GoM as operator, while also participating in an additional one to two wells drilled by its partners.

“The lease additions underscore our commitment to increased investment in North America, which we see as a core region for long-term growth. ” Finnstrom says.

52 companies in total bid Wednesday on 320 GoM oil and gas tracs in water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 feet and the sale raised a total of $1.2 billion.