Repsol agreed to acquire 70% interest in the leasehold held by 70 & 148 LLC and GMT Exploration LLC on the North Slope of Alaska. The blocks are located close to large producing fields and cover an area of 2,000 sq km. Repsol has agreed to carry out the investment necessary to explore and evaluate the economic viability of the resources contained in these blocks. The estimated minimum exposure of this investment for Repsol, including amount to be paid to its partners and the cost of exploration to be carried out over several years, amounts to $768 million. The start of exploratory work is scheduled for next winter.
Hurdles in exploring Alaskan leases:
A lengthy US regulatory process has forced Shell to postpone offshore drilling plans in Alaska to 2012 from 2011, although the company expects it will eventually obtain the permits it needs to proceed, a company executive said in February. Shell has invested $3.5 billion in exploration programs in Beaufort and Chukchi Seas of Alaska, but the company's plans have been held up amid legal challenges by environmental groups and native villagers concerned that oil exploration could hurt wildlife and habitat without adequate safeguards.
In addition, last week the US Interior Department had cancelled leasing offshore tracts in Alaska's Cook Inlet that was tentatively scheduled for later this year. So-called lease sale 219 was called off because of lack of sufficient interest by energy companies to search for oil or natural gas in the area. Read more: http://mergersandacquisitionreviewcom.blogspot.com/2011/03/companies-showed-less-interest-in.html
Alaska North Slope - has rooms to grow:
The North Slope of Alaska, holding North America’s largest oil field Prudhoe Bay, is an especially promising area for Repsol as it has already shown to be oil-rich and carries low exploratory risk. This acreage also helps increase the company’s presence in OECD countries.
In the last decade, the smaller oil companies leased hundreds of thousands of acres across the North Slope and drilled dozens of exploratory wells, leading to the first independently operated oil production in the history of the North Slope. If that trend continues, Alaska will become home to many smaller oil companies this decade.
"When we can produce a barrel, and prove to everybody else that we can produce a barrel, I think there's going to be a flood of independents coming to the North Slope," said Jim Winegarner, vice president of land for Brooks Range Petroleum Corp., an independent operator leading a joint venture of small companies on the North Slope. Repsol believes so!!