Mariner Energy, Inc. announced that it is the apparent high bidder on 19 of 30 blocks on which it bid at the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 206 held March 19, 2008. Mariner submitted joint bids with one or more industry partners on most blocks and exposed a net total of $109.9 million. Mariner's net exposure on the 19 apparent high bids was $79.1 million.
Several of Mariner's identified prospects were among the most active in the sale, with 26 of Mariner's 30 bids receiving one or more competing bids and one receiving ten bids. Mariner's apparent high bid blocks involve 7 deepwater subsalt prospects (both Wilcox and Miocene), 4 conventional deepwater prospects, 4 deep shelf prospects, and 1 conventional shelf prospect. Mariner's working interest in the blocks once awarded will range from 33% to 100%. Mariner expects the MMS to determine which blocks will ultimately be awarded over the next several months.
Scott D. Josey, Mariner's Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, commented on the successful lease sale results stating: "Assuming the blocks are awarded by the MMS, Mariner will have significantly expanded its exploratory drilling inventory in the Gulf, with a particular emphasis on subsalt prospects that have the potential to add substantial value for our stockholders. Combined with last October's Central Gulf sale, Mariner stands to pick up interests in a total of 40 blocks representing 33 prospects, with a net investment to Mariner of approximately $140 million. Additionally, 14 of these prospects are subsalt opportunities, marking a new chapter for Mariner as we expand on our conventional deepwater track record into this new high-impact play."
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