Nova Scotia to Issue Eight Leases for Offshore Exploration
With a bid of C$97.8 million, a 50-50 consortium of BP Canada
Energy Co. and Anadarko Canada Corp. was the top bidder last week
for one of eight exploration licenses off energy rich Nova Scotia,
in an area about 60 miles east of the prolific Sable Island natural
gas field off the east coast of Canada.
The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board announced the
eight high bidders Thursday. The tracts were offered by the board
in June, and the high bids represent what the lessees would spend
exploring the blocks during the first five years of a nine-year
lease. Exploration licenses for the parcels will be issued within
30 days if there are no objections.
The BP Canada/Anadarko tract, No. 6, covers 185,580 hectares in
water between 200 meters to 2,500 meters deep. Company officials
said they would develop a plan for exploration by early next year.
"The Canadian East Coast is an exciting new area of growth for
us and this is a key step in maintaining our leadership in the
North American gas market," said BP Canada president Tim Holt.
Anadarko Canada President Jim Emme said the tract "fits well into
the company's overall North American natural gas strategy and
complements our frontier opportunities in the Mackenzie Delta."
Kerr-McGee Offshore Canada, a unit of Kerr-McGee Corp. was high
bidder for three parcels: C$27.3 million for No. 1, covering
306,800 hectares in waters 500 to 3,000 meters deep; C$20.6 million
for No. 2, covering 114,010 hectares in waters between 100 and
1,700 meters deep; and C$13.1 million for No. 7, which covers
296,440 hectares in less than 100 meters of water.
Canadian Superior Energy Inc. was high bidder on two parcels:
C$5.1 million for No. 4, which covers 24,050 hectares in waters
less than 100 meters deep, and C$22.6 million for No. 5, which
covers 30,776 hectares in less than 100 meters of water.
Canadian Superior Chairman Don Axford said the "land
acquisitions position Canadian Superior as a major player in this
world class basin." Axford said his company holds extensive seismic
database of the East Coast of Canada, adding, "drilling plans are
Richland Minerals Inc. bid C$2.1 million for No. 3, which covers
25,935 hectares in less than 100 meters of water, and C$3.2 million
for No. 8, which covers 279,990 hectares in waters 2,000 to 3,500
meters of water.
In 1999, the Sable Offshore Energy Project, considered the
flagship development in the area, began production and currently is
producing more than 440 MMcf/d. The natural gas is shipped into the
U.S. Northeast through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Several
companies, including Shell Canada ltd. and Exxon Mobil Corp. own
Carolyn Davis, Houston