Apache Corporation announced that its subsidiaries were the apparent high bidders on nine shallow water blocks and five deepwater blocks in the recent Gulf of Mexico (GOM) lease sale held by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Lease Sale 227, held March 20 in New Orleans, received 407 bids from 52 companies on 320 tracts, with the high bids totaling more than $1.2 billion.
On the continental shelf, Apache was the sole bidder on all nine blocks where it submitted bids. The company partnered on seven blocks in the Main Pass area, forming a new joint venture with Apache as the operator and holding a 75-percent working interest. The JV is currently shooting seismic over a 633,000-acre area using new wide azimuth technology to collect data and images under and around salt dome structures.
The company holds a 100-percent working interest in its two other shelf leases acquired in the sale. Apache is currently the largest leaseholder on the Gulf of Mexico's continental shelf with interests in more than 500 blocks.
In the deepwater, Apache was high bidder on five of nine bids, with a 50-percent working interest in each lease. Leases were acquired in the DeSoto Canyon, Green Canyon and Mississippi Canyon lease areas, growing the company's prospect inventory with properties near existing industry discoveries. With the exception of one block, all bids were competitive with other GOM operators.
Overall, the company's net exposure for its winning bids was $2.2 million for the shelf and $24.6 million for deepwater blocks.
"With new acreage, new investments and new ideas, we expect that the Gulf of Mexico will continue to generate strong cash flows and excellent returns," said Jon Jeppesen, executive vice president.
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