With a bid of C$97.8 million, a 50-50 consortium of BP CanadaEnergy Co. and Anadarko Canada Corp. was the top bidder last weekfor one of eight exploration licenses off energy rich Nova Scotia,in an area about 60 miles east of the prolific Sable Island naturalgas field off the east coast of Canada.

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board announced theeight high bidders Thursday. The tracts were offered by the boardin June, and the high bids represent what the lessees would spendexploring the blocks during the first five years of a nine-yearlease. Exploration licenses for the parcels will be issued within30 days if there are no objections.

The BP Canada/Anadarko tract, No. 6, covers 185,580 hectares inwater between 200 meters to 2,500 meters deep. Company officialssaid they would develop a plan for exploration by early next year.

“The Canadian East Coast is an exciting new area of growth forus and this is a key step in maintaining our leadership in theNorth American gas market,” said BP Canada president Tim Holt.Anadarko Canada President Jim Emme said the tract “fits well intothe company’s overall North American natural gas strategy andcomplements our frontier opportunities in the Mackenzie Delta.”

Kerr-McGee Offshore Canada, a unit of Kerr-McGee Corp. was highbidder for three parcels: C$27.3 million for No. 1, covering306,800 hectares in waters 500 to 3,000 meters deep; C$20.6 millionfor No. 2, covering 114,010 hectares in waters between 100 and1,700 meters deep; and C$13.1 million for No. 7, which covers296,440 hectares in less than 100 meters of water.

Canadian Superior Energy Inc. was high bidder on two parcels:C$5.1 million for No. 4, which covers 24,050 hectares in watersless than 100 meters deep, and C$22.6 million for No. 5, whichcovers 30,776 hectares in less than 100 meters of water.

Canadian Superior Chairman Don Axford said the “landacquisitions position Canadian Superior as a major player in thisworld class basin.” Axford said his company holds extensive seismicdatabase of the East Coast of Canada, adding, “drilling plans areunder way.”

Richland Minerals Inc. bid C$2.1 million for No. 3, which covers25,935 hectares in less than 100 meters of water, and C$3.2 millionfor No. 8, which covers 279,990 hectares in waters 2,000 to 3,500meters of water.

In 1999, the Sable Offshore Energy Project, considered theflagship development in the area, began production and currently isproducing more than 440 MMcf/d. The natural gas is shipped into theU.S. Northeast through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Severalcompanies, including Shell Canada ltd. and Exxon Mobil Corp. ownthe project.

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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