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August 23, 2002

Successful Western Gulf lease sale

The U. S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) held a lease sale this week in New Orleans of offshore oil and natural gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, attracting $151,265,255 in high bids. Forty-four companies participated in Lease Sale 184 which offered 4,102 tracts comprising approximately 22.3 million acres offshore Texas, and Louisiana. The MMS received 391 bids on 323 tracts. The total of all bids was $181,551,965.

MMS Director Johnnie Burton said, "Sale 184 was clearly a success; the number of tracts bid on ranks fourth in the last 10 Western Gulf sales. This sale saw spirited bidding activity by the independent oil and gas companies. The top three companies submitting bids were independents: Kerr-McGee (53 bids), Amerada Hess (52 bids), and Pioneer Natural Resources (42 bids)." Burton went on to note that, "The deeper water area in what is termed Alaminos Canyon experienced a great deal of bidding by several companies. We also saw bidding that was in response to our deep gas initiative in shallow water."

The highest bid received on a block was $8,353,500 submitted by Dominion Exploration and Production, Inc., along with Nexen Petroleum Offshore U.S.A., Inc. for Garden Banks Block 337. Approximately 39 percent of the tracts receiving bids are in ultra-deep water (more than 800 meters). The deepest tract bid on was Alaminos Canyon Block 902, in 2996 meters of water.

The high bid on a block will go through an evaluation process to ensure the public receives market value before a lease is awarded..

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