PARIS -- TOTAL E&P USA (Total) has entered into several agreements with Cobalt International Energy L.P. (Cobalt) to jointly explore the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. These agreements will form the basis of a strategic alliance in this area that offers numerous promising exploration opportunities, the companies say.
Under the terms of the agreements, subject to the approval of the Minerals Management Service and other customary conditions to closing, the exploration portfolios of both companies in the GoM (122 exploration leases on Cobalt's side, 80 exploration leases on Total's side, and 12 exploration leases already jointly owned) will generally be shared on the basis of 60% for Cobalt and 40% for Total. This will provide both companies with access to large areas of contiguous acreage, mainly subsalt, similar to major discoveries in this area (Miocene, Paleogene).
During 2009, Total and Cobalt are committed to starting an initial program of several exploratory wells to be drilled on promising prospects already identified. Cobalt will operate the exploration phase in the joint program with Total providing the rig and seconding geoscientists in Cobalt's teams.