Japan's Inpex Corp. said Tuesday it plans to expand its exploration, development and production activities in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM) after disclosing that it was the mystery buyer of a stake in the promising Lucius deepwater development. Subsidiary Teikoku Oil (North America) Co. Ltd. purchased the 7.2% participating stake in Lucius from operator Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

Anadarko in early July said it had sold some of its Lucius stake to an undisclosed party in exchange for $556 million to help fund the project to first production in late 2014 (see Daily GPI, July 3). Anadarko, which now holds a 27.8% interest with the sale, also partners in the project with Plains Exploration & Production Co. (23.3%), ExxonMobil Corp. (15%), Apache Corp. subsidiary Apache Deepwater LLC (11.7%), Brazil's Petroleo Brasilerio (9.6%), and Italy's Eni SpA (5.4%).

A final investment decision for Lucius was made last December (see Daily GPI, Dec. 16, 2011). The Lucius unit, 200 miles southeast of Houston in waters about 7,000 feet deep, including portions of Keathley Canyon blocks 874, 875, 918 and 919. The offshore platform as envisioned would be able to produce 80,000 b/d of oil and 450 MMcf/d of gas. First production is planned from six initial producing wells.

Natural gas and crude oil from Lucius will be processed with a truss spar floating facility. Processed gas and oil then would be exported to the onshore facilities in Louisiana via a subsea pipeline.

Inpex has participated in oil and gas development projects in the U.S. GOM since 2006. Teikoku holds stakes in the GOM shallow water in Ship Shoal Block 72 (25%); West Cameron blocks 401/402 (25%); Main Pass Block 118 (16.6%); and Louisiana Blocks SL 19372 (17.5%) and 20183 (25%).

In 2010 Inpex Gulf of Mexico Co. ltd. took a 15% interest in Royal Dutch Shell plc's Walker Ridge block 95, 96, 139 and 140. Teikoku Oil de Burgos since 2004 also has been a stakeholder in two Mexico GOM projects.

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