Unocal Adds to GOM Acreage

Unocal Corporation said that its Gulf Region USA and Deepwater USA business units are the apparent high bidders for interests in 18 blocks in the Central Gulf of Mexico OCS Lease Sale No. 182 conducted today by the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS).

The company submitted apparent high bids amounting to approximately $5.9 million on 16 shelf leases and 2 deepwater leases.

Ken Butler, vice president for Unocal Gulf Region USA, said that the "deep shelf" gas play was the primary focus of bids placed in the shallower waters, in addition to more traditional "bright spot" prospects that favor the company's existing acreage position. "Both the deep shelf and shallow bright spot targets allow us to take advantage of our proven operating strengths and extensive infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico," Butler said.

"Some prospects that we bid on will yield immediate drillsites and could contribute production and reserves this year. Other leases support Unocal's deep shelf focus and could add material gas reserves and drilling prospects into 2003," he added.

Prior to the sale, Unocal, through its Deepwater USA and Gulf Region USA units, held an interest in 488 Gulf of Mexico leases. Of that total, 235 exploratory leases are located in deep water, while another 105 exploratory leases are on the shelf. Unocal Gulf Region USA also has 148 development leases on the GOM shelf.

The results of Sale 182 will bring the Unocal business units' combined portfolio to 506 OCS leases in the Gulf of Mexico, if all bids are approved by the MMS.