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 Daily GPI, June 22).

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, with 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.

In a joint statement, McMoRan’s co-chairmen James R. Moffett and Richard C. Adkerson said the acquisition offered the company “expanded exploration opportunities in our focused area of operations,” and the company “will benefit from having increased scale in the area where we have had historical success.”

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.

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