StatoilHydro Takes Bigger Bite of BHP's DeSoto Canyon Blocks

StatoilHydro has acquired a 40% stake in 50 blocks from BHP Billiton in the frontier DeSoto Canyon area of the US Gulf of Mexico.

"DeSoto Canyon is a mostly unexplored region in the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Obtaining early access to new plays is regarded by the company as key to our success," said StatoilHydro vice president of exploration for North America, Tony Dore.

"We did a similar early access deal with ExxonMobil in 2005 in the Walker Ridge Area of Central GOM. We believe that through a close cooperation with BHP Billiton we can mature high quality prospects," he added.

DeSoto Canyon is located east of StatoilHydro's current production operation at Independence Hub. The area has water depths of about 1,000 meters.

StatoilHydro and BHP Billiton bid at the recent OCS Central Lease Sale 208 on 14 additional blocks within the trend, and together the two companies were the apparent high bidder on all blocks.

The issuance of leases on these 14 blocks is subject to the Minerals Management Service's final approval.

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