The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) awarded the first three oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico boundary area subject to the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement Friday.
Exxon Mobil Corp. was awarded the leases, which are located in the Alaminos Canyon Area of the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 170 miles east of Port Isabel, Texas.
The company bid on the blocks, which are located or partially located within the 3 statute miles of the maritime and continental shelf boundary with Mexico, as part of the Western Planning Area Lease Sale 233 in August 2013. The agreement, which was approved by U.S. Congress in December of last year and signed into law Dec. 26, 2013 by President Obama, will make nearly 1.5 million additional acres of U.S. Outer Continental Shelf acreage more accessible for exploration and production.
DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates this area to hold as much as 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
[Interesting, surprising. They say there is 172 million bbls of oil in this block -- about equal to 200 Bakken wells -- the number of Bakken wells drilled each month. 50 million boe (natural gas): 50 + 170 = 220; 77% oil; 23% natural gas.]Reuters via Rigzone is reporting, Statoil, 1; Greenpeace, 0.
Norway's Coast Guard on Friday evening towed away a Greenpeace ship that tried to block Statoil's rig from drilling the world's most northerly oil well in the Barents Sea, the environment group said.
Oil drillers in Norway are moving further north as mature fields in the south are depleted and as the Arctic ice retreats, opening new areas that were previously unaccessible. U.S. estimates show the Arctic may hold 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its gas.
The activists taken off the rig - from Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Philippines and Sweden - were released without charge and were all well. Greenpeace said on Friday they were happy by managing to stop the drilling at least for 89 hours. Statoil said delays to the start of drilling cost the company about 7.5 million crowns ($1.26 million) per day.
[Comment: that was fast. It was reported just yesterday that Greenpeace had arrived on scene one day before the Statoil ship arrived on scene; the court acted very, very quickly.]Rigzone is reporting, California says "YES" to fracking.
California state Senate lawmakers voted down a second year in a row a bill to temporarily ban fracking.
A handful of California State Senate Democrats joined with Republicans to vote down the bill, Reuters reported Friday. California Gov. Jerry Brown could halt fracking through an executive order, but the move is unlikely, given that Brown has said that hydraulic fracturing is good for the state because it is better to produce oil in California than import it, Reuters reported Friday.
[Comment: LOL.]Reuters via Rigzone is reporting, Ukraine blinks.
Ukraine told Russia on Friday a $786 million partial payment for back gas bills was on its way to Moscow, clearing the way for further talks on Monday ....
The partial payment on a bill that Russia says could exceed $5 billion by next week also averted an immediate threat that Russia would stop supplying gas to Ukraine if it fails to make advance payments.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak welcomed the news that Ukraine said it had transferred funds to Moscow from Kiev via a New York bank on Friday afternoon but said Russia would wait for confirmation that the payment has arrived in Moscow.
[Comment: the question I asked earlier, remains -- who came up with the cash. It's been widely reported that the Ukraine is financially "broke" and could not pay the bill. There are only two countries that have that much cash who would be willing to pay the bill -- will The New York Times sort this out?]