Repsol Abandons All Ninety-Three Chukchi Sea Leases

Repsol headquarters in Madrid, Spain.

By MarEx 2016-06-09 18:07:13

Spanish oil major Repsol has abandoned 55 of its oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea and plans to abandon the remaining 38 over the next year.

Repsol's 93 Chukchi leases covered nearly 530,000 total acres and were bought by the company for $15 million in 2008.

Repsol's decision to give up these leases means that a single lease held by Shell will be the lone active lease remaining in the Chukchi Sea.

Repsol has also reduced its stake in a promising onshore development and is closing its offices in Anchorage, a spokesperson for the company said.

ConocoPhillips, Eni, Iona Energy and Shell have also given up more than 350 leases covering more than two million acres in the Chukchi Sea.

The pullout of other energy companies left Repsol without potential partners in the hard-to-develop region. That factored into Repsol’s decision to relinquish the leases.

Repsol holds 29 leases in the Beaufort Sea in the eastern U.S. Arctic Ocean, in partnerships involving Eni and Shell. The leases are set to expire in 2017, and some blocks may be relinquished.

Environmental group Oceana has said that the departure of oil and gas companies from the Chukchi Sea shows there is no compelling reason for the U.S. federal government to schedule new lease sales in the Arctic Ocean.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has proposed a 2017 to 2022 lease plan for the U.S. outer continental shelf that includes a sale for the Beaufort Sea in 2020, the Cook Inlet in 2021 and the Chukchi Sea in 2022.