US giant ExxonMobil and Qatari state-owned QatarEnergy have won a key exploration block in an offshore play offered by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.
The Qatari giant confirmed the development on Thursday as the pair emerged as the successful bidder for the Parcel 8 deep-water acreage in the Orphan basin region.
“The Parcel 8 winning bid by QatarEnergy and ExxonMobil was announced by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board as part of the 2022 Newfoundland and Labrador Call For Bids NL22-CFB01,” a statement read.
ExxonMobil will operate the offshore tract with a 70% stake, while QatarEnergy holds the remaining 30% participating interest.
QatarEnergy chief executive Saad Sherida Al Kaabi said the acquisition means the pair can work to pursue the potential of the lead prospect, “testing an exciting play within a transparent and stable regulatory environment”.
“This successful bid demonstrates our ambition to further increase our footprint in the Atlantic basin, as part of our international growth drive,” Al Kaabi said.
Located offshore Eastern Canada, the Parcel 8 deep-water exploration block lies in water depths between 2500 to 3000 metres and covers about 2700 square kilometres.
QatarEnergy said that eventual “entry to the Parcel 8 licence is subject to customary government approvals”.
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Last year, QatarEnergy signed a deal with ExxonMobil for a separate exploration licence offshore Newfoundland & Labrador, dubbed Block EL 1165A.
QatarEnergy holds a 40% participating interest in Block EL 1165A, while the balance 60% stake is held by ExxonMobil’s Canada unit.
The Block EL 1165A agreement marked QatarEnergy’s first entry into offshore Canada, where the operator is eyeing a wider footprint.
The company has already made strides with international developments and, just earlier this week, announced its participation in a discovery in the Petrobras-operated Sepia contractual area in Brazil.
ExxonMobil this year abandoned a wildcat in the EL 1165A tract in eastern Canada far earlier than planned for reasons that are unclear, Upstream has reported.
The probe, renamed Hampden K-41, was spudded in early July under the name EL1165A, re-entering an earlier well the supermajor had begun drilling in May 2020 but failed to complete at the time.
According to the Canada-Newfoundland & Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board — which regulates upstream activities in the province’s waters — the drillship Stena Forth was in the process of abandoning the well on 1 August.