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Vol. 12, No. 46 Week of November 18, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

THE EXPLORERS 2007: Repsol partners with Eni, Shell in Beaufort Sea

Kay Cashman

Petroleum News

In September 2007, Repsol YPF joined a Shell/Eni partnership in a block of 64 leases in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s North Slope. It was the Spanish oil and gas major’s first acquisition in the state.

Shell and Eni exchanged working interests in the contiguous outer continental shelf leases in November 2006. At that time Eni had a 60 percent interest in the acreage and Shell had 40 percent. Repsol picked up its 20 percent interest from Eni.

The exploration block is operated by Shell in the federal waters north of the Oooguruk, Nikaitchuq, Northstar and Kuparuk units, extending east to midway above the Prudhoe Bay unit.

Shell’s spokesman in Alaska, Curtis Smith, told Petroleum News Sept. 21 that the leases are in water depths ranging from 3 to 24 meters.

Identifying drill sites

“The objective of the partnership is to acquire 3-D seismic with a view toward identifying future drill sites,” Smith said.

In its press release Repsol said “exploration activities” could start in 2009-10.

When asked by Petroleum News if Repsol was looking at additional investments in Alaska, Jorge S. O. Milanese referred the question to Repsol’s headquarters in Madrid. Milanese is in upstream business development and is based in The Woodlands, Texas.

Madrid officials had not replied by the time The Explorers went to press on Nov. 1.

At the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority board meeting on May 9, 2007 ANGDA CEO Harold Heinze said that Repsol had recently established an “upstream position” in Alaska.

In April, Heinze met with Repsol as part of a series of meetings with companies that might have an interest in building a gas pipeline from the North Slope to Lower 48 markets. He was told Repsol had already entered Alaska, but was not given particulars.

In early September, Drue Pearce, the federal coordinator for Alaska gas pipeline projects, said she had heard Repsol was one of several companies that had expressed interest in building a gas pipeline from the North Slope. But Pearce also said she didn’t have any inside information that suggested Repsol was still interested.

An integrated oil and gas company engaged in all aspects of the petroleum business, Repsol has 30,000 employees and is one of the 10 largest private (not government-owned) petroleum companies in the world. It was founded in 1986 and in 2006 had a net income of approximately $1.7 billion.

The company also operates in Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa. Repsol owns Argentina’s largest oil company, and has operations in more than 28 countries. The bulk of Repsol’s assets are in Spain and Argentina.

Repsol operates five refineries in Spain and four in Latin America and produces chemicals, plastics and polymers. The company sells gasoline under the brands Campsa, Petronor, and Repsol at more than 6,900 service stations in Europe and Latin America.

Repsol is one of Spain’s largest sellers of liquefied natural gas.

According to Dow Jones, in mid-September 2007 Repsol signed a $15 billion contract to supply natural gas to Mexico from its Peruvian operations.



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