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Japan’s Inpex Corporation said on Friday it had reached a deal with Anadarko to buy 40 percent in each of four exploration blocks operated by Anadarko in the southern U.S. Gulf of Mexico, as part of a strategy to make the Gulf of Mexico one of its priority exploration areas.
Under the agreement with Anadarko Petroleum, Inpex will buy a 40-percent participating interest in Keathley Canyon blocks 921 and 965, as well as in Walker Ridge blocks 881 and 925 in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the Japanese company said, without revealing details of the price.
The four exploration blocks lie at water depths of between 2,150 meters and 2,700 meters (7,050 and 8,860 feet) and are close to the producing Lucius Oil Field and Hadrian North Oil Field, in which Inpex also holds participating interests.
After the acquisition, Inpex will have 40 percent in each of the four oil exploration blocks, while Anadarko will remain operator with 60-percent stakes.
Pending approvals by Inpex and Anadarko’s management and further evaluation work, Inpex plans to drill an exploration well at an early stage in partnership with the operator, Anadarko.
The acquisition is part of Inpex’s plan to make the U.S. Gulf of Mexico a key exploration priority and to pursue its goal of “sustainable growth of oil and natural gas E&P activities.”
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The acquisition will have minimal impact on Inpex’s consolidated financial results for the year ending December 2019, the Japanese company said.
Anadarko, for its part, is being acquired by Occidental in one of the largest oil and gas M&A deals in years.
Occidental hasn’t closed the acquisition of Anadarko yet, but analysts are already speculating about which Anadarko assets Occidental could divest to cut part of the debt it has taken on from the transaction and to focus on the core assets after the deal—Anadarko’s prime U.S. shale acreage.
According to analysts who spoke to Reuters in May, Occidental’s most likely asset sales could be Anadarko’s pipeline business and the assets in the Gulf of Mexico. Anadarko’s GoM position may be worth at least US$6 billion, and potential buyers could be some of the biggest players with experience in the Gulf of Mexico such as Exxon, Shell, Chevron, and Total, analysts told Reuters.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.