StatoilHydro noted that this is the first lease sale in the Chukchi Sea since 1991. The area is considered a frontier area with no production or infrastructure. The Chukchi Sea is located offshore Alaska northwest of Prudhoe Bay.

The leases are located 60km north of the Burger gas discovery in the Chukchi Sea and constitute interesting prospects, according to StatoilHydro.

StatoilHydro said that it already holds important positions offshore Norway, Russia and Canada in harsh environments, and the results of the lease sale emphasize the company’s strategic ambitions and experience from working in Arctic waters.

The Chukchi Sea Lease Sale area comprised 5,354 blocks of 5,609 acres in water depths from 20-80 meters. Lease sale 193 was conducted by the Minerals Management Service (MMS). A total of seven companies participated in the sale. StatoilHydro’s winning bids are subject to review and final approval by the MMS and approval may take up to 90 days.

Bill Maloney, StatoilHydro’s senior vice president for global exploration, said: This lease sale is another step for the company’s future growth. We will use our experience and competence from 30 years of oil and gas operations in harsh environments on the Norwegian continental shelf on the awarded leases. We are looking forward to further explore these new opportunities in Alaska.