Majors Lead the Charge in US Gulf Land Grab

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US Gulf of Mexico operators returned to the auction block to snap up acreage at a pace not seen since before the Covid-19 pandemic, shaking off two years of uncertainty and outright hostility from the Biden administration. A sense of optimism mixed with trepidation hung over US Gulf Lease Sale 259, which was held under congressional mandate. Majors including Chevron, BP and Shell led the bidding, targeting both greenfield and brownfield areas, primarily in deepwater. But it was not clear if the increased activity was a sign of renewed interest in Gulf exploration and development, or a signal of concern over future access. It was the first lease sale held since November 2021 and only the second since President Joe Biden took office. It attracted around $264 million in high bids, the most since March 2019 and 38% higher than the 2021 sale. Companies placed a total of 353 bids, more than any sale since 2017, when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) started offering "Gulf-wide" auctions. Some industry watchers read this as proof of the Gulf’s resilience — offering advantaged, low-emissions barrels with years of potential production growth ahead. Others detected a "just in case mentality" for companies unsure if they will get many more chances to lock up drilling rights.

Corporate Strategy , Majors, Resource Access, Deepwater, Exploration, Upstream Licensing, Upstream Projects, Offshore Oil and Gas, Policy and Regulation, Carbon Capture (CCS)
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