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Oil and gas company Statoil ASA (STO - Analyst Report) has claimed for 15 leases in the central region of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GoM) in an auction under the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The addition will further strengthen its already significant foothold in the region. However, the lease awards remain subject to proper approval by BOEM.

With this addition, the Norwegian giant will get hold of over 340 leases in the GoM region in total. This emphasizes its commitment in boosting its spending level in North America, which Statoil foresees as a core long-term growth driver.

The company’s main aim was Walker Ridge Block 271, a high-impact single prospect also known as Monument, for which it has given the highest bid of $81.7 million along with co-venture Samson Offshore. Statoil now expects potential resources of more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE) from this type of prospects.

The presence of Statoil – the world's largest offshore operator – in North America dates back to more than 25 years. The company also holds the pioneering position in subsea technology and remains involved in numerous discoveries in the GoM, including Julia, Stampede, Vito and Statoil-operated Logan. The company has been able to create a robust portfolio with offshore and onshore possessions in Canada and the U.S.

Statoil intends to spud two to three wells within a year in the Gulf prospects it operates and also aims to take part in one or two wells that are to be drilled by its associate partner. The company currently remains a partner in three U.S. Gulf producing fields and seven fields that are under the development phase.

The company aims to achieve an equity production of above 2.5 MMBOE per day in 2020. Notably, the U.S. GoM plays a key role in Statoil’s agenda to boost its North American oil and gas production to 500,000 BOE per day by that specified time period. It has progressed on various projects and expects to make significant additions to its resource base in the coming years.

Statoil currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (short-term Buy rating). In the energy sector, companies like Total SA (TOT - Analyst Report), YPF S.A. (YPF - Snapshot Report) and Range Resources Corporation also appear promising. Total and YPF hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), while Range Resources retains a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
 

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