Ridgewood Energy Pushes into Deepwater GOM Frontier

Ridgewood Energy has acquired interests in two already-discovered oil and gas projects in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico -- one is located in Green Canyon 141, referred to as Liberty, and the other in Green Canyon 448, referred to as Carrera. These moves highlight the company's drive for greater diversification from a primary focus on natural gas production to long-lived oil. Additionally, the firm recently acquired an interest and made a subsequent deepwater gas discovery in Green Canyon 490, referred to as Alpha.

"For some time, Ridgewood Energy has wanted to diversify into deepwater oil projects," said Bob Swanson, the company's CEO and founder. "We are pleased that we have been able to access these attractive opportunities."

Super-majors are progressively moving to ultra-deepwater (greater than 5,000 feet) and ultra-deep drilling (wells deeper than 30,000 feet), where they have the opportunity to discover hundreds of millions of barrels of oil.

"This move by the super-majors means that many of the facilities in the 1,000 to 5,000 feet range have excess capacity and are available to process new oil and gas discoveries, as well as to transport new production to market through existing pipelines," Swanson noted.

Ridgewood's change in strategic direction toward deepwater oil investments began in earnest with the hiring of Kenny Lang as its president earlier this year. Previously, Lang had overseen BP's operations in the Gulf of Mexico, overseeing a group of 2,000 employees and contractors. After joining Ridgewood, he then hired Joe Morris, also formerly of BP, as Vice President, Exploration. The two now lead a very experienced team at Ridgewood, whose members are executing the company's strategic shift to bring greater emphasis on deepwater oil opportunities.