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April 18, 2007 --- Vol. 13, No. 35April 2007

Shell dominates Beaufort sale with $39 million of $42 million

Today’s Minerals Management Service outer continental shelf sale 202, Beaufort Sea, was dominated by Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc., which took 49 of 92 tracts and accounted for $39,272,708 of $42,165,195 in total high bids, 93 percent of the apparent high bids.

Shell accounted for the 10 top bids at the sale, with the highest at $14,104,239, an average of $6,122 per hectare.

MMS Alaska Region Director John Goll said at the bid opening in Anchorage that 95 bids were received on 92 blocks, a total of 203,188 hectares or 502,087 acres.

Total E&P USA took 32 tracts for $2,200,336, 5.2 percent of the total high bids, followed by Eni Petroleum with seven tracts for $466,000, 1.1 percent of the sale total; Keith Forsgren, two tracts, $185,062, 0.4 percent of the sale total; ConocoPhillips Alaska, one tract, $60,000, 0.1 percent of the sale total; and BP Exploration (Alaska), one tract, $1,089.

BP picked up acreage adjacent to its Liberty prospect; ConocoPhillips picked up a tract adjacent to tracts north of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska that it had acquired at an earlier MMS sale. Keith Forsgren picked up two tracts far offshore north of NPR-A.

Eni appeared to be filling in around a large block of MMS tracts it took at the last sale northwest of Nikaitchuq.

Total, like Shell, picked up acreage in two large blocks some 20-30 miles offshore.

The smaller block in which both companies took leases is north of the developed North Slope onshore area, centered north of Deadhorse; the larger block is farther to the east, centered north of Point Thomson.

This is the agency’s 10th Beaufort Sea offering. The first was 1979. The most recent sale was in March of 2005 and resulted in 117 leases being issued covering 607,285 acres. The sum of high bids at that sale was $46,735,081.

The agency set a record in 1982 with a $2 billion Beaufort Sea sale which saw 662,860 acres leased.

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