W&T Offshore Inc. on Thursday said it has made good on its plan to pursue acquisitions this year by grabbing stakes in three offshore properties in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) from the U.S. subsidiary of Total SA. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Houston-based W&T would receive Total E&P USA Inc.'s 64% interest in the Virgo natural gas field in Viosca Knoll blocks 822 and 823. It also bought 100% of the Matterhorn discovery in Mississippi Canyon Block 243.

"The acquisition of Total's interest in the Matterhorn and Virgo fields is a part of our strategic plan to increase our reserves and production in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico," said W&T CEO Tracy W. Krohn. In February Krohn said the company was eyeing the market for quality acquisitions and joint ventures (see Daily GPI, Feb. 26).

The Virgo gas-heavy field, which is in waters about 345 meters deep, was discovered in 1997 and ramped up production two years later (see Daily GPI, Sept. 18, 1998). Virgo was producing on average 2,000 boe/d (boe/d) at the end of 2009. The Matterhorn field was discovered in 1999 and is in about 850 meters of water (see Daily GPI, Oct. 9, 2001). Production began in 2003 and at the end of last year average output was 5,000 boe/d.

"In selling these nonstrategic assets, Total finalizes the reorganization of its activities in the Gulf of Mexico, focusing on areas of growth in the deep offshore," the French producer said.

At the end of last year Total's GOM production was about 30,000 boe/d, most of it produced by its 17% stake in the deepwater Tahiti field. Tahiti, which is operated by Chevron Corp., ramped up a year ago and is one of the largest fields discovered to date in the GOM (see Daily GPI, July 13, 2009). Tahiti production now is around 70 MMcf/d of natural gas and 125,000 b/d of crude oil. Chevron holds a 58% stake in the project, and Statoil ASA has a 25% interest.

Total also is committed to developing the first phase of the deepwater Chinook project, which is operated by Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned producer (see Daily GPI, Dec. 7, 2006). Total holds a one-third interest in the Chinook field. A production test is scheduled for July. In addition, Total allied with Houston-based Cobalt International Energy LP last year to jointly explore 214 deepwater blocks in the GOM (see Daily GPI, April 7, 2009).

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