April 11 (UPI) — French supermajor Total said Wednesday it built up its position in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico by taking on assets in a bankruptcy auction sale.
After a string of financial losses, Cobalt International Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. courts in December. An auction for its assets was held March 6 and Total said it was able to add on in the Gulf of Mexico in a $300 million offer for Cobalt’s holdings.
Through the auction, Total becomes the operator of the North Platte discovery by taking another 20 percent from Cobalt to increase its stake to 60 percent. In the Anchor discovery, it moves into a minority position along Chevron, the operator.
“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,” Arnaud Breuillac, the president of exploration and production at Total, said in a statement. “We will now develop the North Platte discovery, looking for the most efficient scheme in terms of development cost.”
Both discoveries are in the assessment phase.
The federal government estimates total U.S. petroleum production will top 11 million barrels per day by the fourth quarter. About 15 percent of that would come from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
Total reported adjusted net income in the fourth quarter of $10.6 billion, a 28 percent increase from the previous year. Its reported output improved close to 6 percent from the same period last year, thanks in part to an increase in operations at the Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan, its takeover of the al-Shaheen oil field in Qatar and an improved position in U.S. shale.