New Orleans-based McMoRan Exploration Co. expanded its position in the Gulf of Mexico after completing its purchase of the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) properties of Newfield Exploration Co. for $1.08 billion (see NGI, June 25). The properties include 124 fields on 148 offshore blocks that produced 260 MMcfe/d in 2Q2007. Proved reserves as of July 1 are estimated at 323 Bcfe, which is 70% weighted to natural gas. About 90% of the proved reserves for the acquired properties were based on estimates by Ryder Scott Co. LP. McMoRan acquired 1.3 million gross acres of offshore leases and a 50% interest in Newfield's nonproducing exploration leases on the OCS. It also acquired some of Newfield's interests in leases associated with its Treasure Island prospect inventory. McMoRan said it is retaining personnel and contractors who have supported Newfield's management of the acquired properties. In addition, McMoRan and Newfield plan to jointly pursue exploration activities on nonproducing leases on the OCS held by Newfield.

Four Sevens Resources Co. Ltd. has signed a lease to drill for gas near the Texas Christian University (TCU) football stadium in Fort Worth, TX. Drilling in a remote campus parking area north of the stadium is scheduled to occur between January and July in 2008, 2009 and 2010 -- after football season is over. Any funds secured through the gas drilling will be placed in the university's endowment, a decision made by the TCU board of trustees. Four Sevens was appointed the university's gas operator by the executive committee of TCU's board earlier this year following a request-for-proposal process (see NGI, July 7). The decision to sign the lease followed meetings with neighborhood leaders, faculty, staff and students to address their questions regarding safety, noise and traffic related to drilling, TCU stated. TCU's decision to allow drilling on its campus follows decisions to do the same by other Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex organizations that include the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County Community College, the Fort Worth Independent School District, Colonial Country Club and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Toreador Resources Corp. announced last week that it has entered into an agreement with RTF Realty Inc. of Dallas, to sell all of its U.S. oil and gas properties for approximately $19.1 million in cash. The "as is, where is" sale will be effective Sept. 1. Net proceeds from the sale will be added to Toreador's working capital and used for possible modest debt repayment, to fund the company's ongoing development program in Turkey and for other strategic initiatives. The U.S. properties, which primarily consist of nonoperated working interests in approximately 700 wells in five states, had proved reserves at the end of 2006 of approximately 4.1 Bcf of gas and 700,000 bbl. The book value of the properties was approximately $10.3 million, or approximately 4% of the aggregate book value of the company's oil and gas properties, according to Toreador. A gain of $9 million is expected be recorded on the sale in the company's third quarter results. Taxes due on the gain are expected to be offset by tax loss carryforwards.

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