Total, Statoil take over Cobalt’s Gulf of Mexico discovery

Norway’s Statoil and France’s Total have completed their acquisition of Cobalt International Energy’s 60% operated interest in the North Platte discovery in the US Gulf of Mexico for an aggregate purchase price of $339 million.

The partners had jointly presented the winning bid for the asset in a bankruptcy auction of some of Cobalt’s assets that was held on March 6, 2018.

Statoil now owns a 40% non-operated interest in North Platte, while Total has increased its existing 40% interest to 60% and taken over operatorship. The effective date of the transaction is 1 January 2018.

North Platte is a Paleogene oil discovery covering four blocks in the Garden Banks area of the US Gulf of Mexico. It has been fully appraised since its discovery in 2012 with three drilled wells and multiple sidetracks.

“This is a high-quality asset with a low CO2 footprint, and so strongly supports our strategy. It is also an excellent fit with our existing US offshore portfolio, competence in technology development, and knowledge of the Paleogene play in which we are the second largest producer. We look forward to working with Total in developing North Platte for high-value creation”, says Torgrim Reitan, Statoil’s executive vice president for development and production USA.

Statoil already has interests in eight producing fields in the US Gulf of Mexico and two in development. Their production is expected to reach 110,000 boe per day, making Statoil a top-five producer from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The portfolio will by 2020 achieve an average cash margin of at least $45 per barrel after tax at an oil price of $70.

$300 million for Cobalt assets

Worth noting,  this is not the only asset Total is acquiring as part of Cobalt’s bankruptcy auction asset sale. Total submitted offers on several assets for a consideration of approximately 300 million dollars.

Total will get a 20% interest in the North Platte discovery. As a result, Total increases its interest to 60% and becomes operator of this discovery. Total will have Statoil as a partner, who acquired the remaining 40%; a 20% interest in the Anchor discovery. As a result, Total increases its interest to 32.5%, after having acquired 12.5% last December. This discovery is operated by Chevron; and 13 offshore exploration blocks, which will be operated by Total.

The sale of Cobalt’s assets gives us the opportunity to further enhance our portfolio in the Gulf of Mexico under particularly attractive conditions and to be able to apply our expertise as a deep offshore operator. We will now develop the North Platte discovery, looking for the most efficient scheme in terms of development cost”, stated Arnaud Breuillac, President Exploration & Production at Total.

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