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Central Gulf Sale Results Weaker

Central Gulf Sale Results Weaker

Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 172, held Wednesday in New Orleans, garnered nearly $171.62 million in high bids out of $199.64 million in total bids. Of 3,806 blocks offered, 207 received bids. There were 272 bids with an average of 1.31 bids per block and 67 companies participating.

Clearly, the commodity price downturn had a grip on yesterday's sale. By comparison, the last Central Gulf sale, No. 169 held March 18, 1998, netted $784.12 million in high bids. The sale received 1,188 bids on 794 tracts, the third highest number of bids in the history of Central Gulf leasing, following 1996 and 1997.

This time around, blocks in deeper waters got most of the attention by far. In depths exceeding 800 meters, 89 blocks received a total of $130.84 million in high bids. In depths of 200 meters or less, 105 blocks received high bids totaling $32.8 million.

Companies submitting the greatest number of high bids were Sonat Exploration GOM, 22; Vastar Resources, 18; Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas, 17; BHP Petroleum, 13; Murphy Exploration and Production, 13; Spinnaker Exploration, 13; Samedan Oil, 13; CNG Producing, 9; Amerada Hess, 9; and Callon Petroleum Operating, 9.

The largest high bid was for $16.58 million from Marathon Oil and Kerr-McGee; followed by $13.01 million from Elf Exploration and Spinnaker.

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