Nexen and CNOOC sign Gulf of Mexico deal
Calgary-based Nexen announced a joint-venture deal with China National Offshore Oil Co., in which CNOOC will take a stake in up to six exploration wells in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Among the exploration prospects included in the deal are the Kakuna well, which is currently drilling, and the Angel Fire well, which is expected to begin drilling in 2012.
CNOOC will take a 20 % stake in those two wells as well as a third, called Cypress.
The Chinese firm also has the right to take a stake of up to 25 % in three additional exploration wells.
The US government suspended approval of deepwater drilling in the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon blowout and fire in April 2010 that resulted in the largest accidental offshore oil spill in US history. That ban was lifted seven months later, but the industry has complained that approvals for drilling permits still face long delays.
“We are seeing a gradual return to normal activity in the Gulf,” CEO Marvin Romanow said, “and this deal is a reflection of the fact that the basin remains a very exciting one for deepwater exploration prospects.”