Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 174 Attracts $94.6 Million in High Bids

Friday, September 24, 1999
A Federal offshore natural gas and oil lease sale in the Western Gulf of Mexico received $94.7 million in high bids. The U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) received 177 bids totaling $104.2 million at the sale held in New Orleans. The 41 participating companies bid on 153 tracts in the Western Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas and in deeper waters offshore Louisiana. "The results of the sale are about what we expected," said MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Chris Oynes. "It is reflective of the large inventory of tracts already under lease. This sale was dominated by the independents, Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corporation, Coastal Oil & Gas, and Spinnaker Exploration Company in particular." MMS officials said 86 tracts receiving bids are in water depths of 656 ft. or more. The highest bid on a tract was $11.3 million, submitted by Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corporation for NG15-02 Garden Banks 877. Each tract is about nine square miles. The highest bid on each tract will go through an evaluation process to ensure the American taxpayer receives fair market value. Unocal Corporation's Spirit Energy 76 unit was the apparent successful high bidder for interests in 15 lease blocks in the western Gulf of Mexico, including 7 deepwater blocks and 8 shelf blocks, in the sale. Spirit Energy had apparent high bids amounting to $8.8 million. The acquisition of these new blocks would increase Spirit's Gulf of Mexico exploratory portfolio to more than 300 blocks. Of that, nearly 220 are located in deep water; 85 are on the shelf.
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