OSLO, March 23 Norway's Statoil has
"reset" its exploration campaign in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico by
placing top bids for 13 offshore deepwater oil and gas leases
there in the latest auction, the company said Thursday.
The majority state-owned company said in January it was
considering whether to end its costly search for oil and gas in
the region following a series of exploration failures.
Statoil made total bids of $44.5 million in the auction,
second only to Shell and ahead of Hess Corp,
Chevron and Exxon.
The outcome will now be subject to a 90-days formal review
and final approval.
"We continue to believe in the potential of the Gulf of
Mexico," Statoil's Tore Loeseth, head of exploration in the U.S.
and Mexico, said in a statement.
Statoil said it expected its offshore U.S. production to
nearly double by 2020 from about 60,000 barrels per day in 2016.
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing Terje Solsvik)