For those wondering about Big Oil's commitment to domestic exploration, lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico are a useful gauge. The results of this week's bidding round demonstrate that the majors are definitely sticking around.
Last year, StatoilHydro
Contrary to what you might think, ExxonMobil has a minor presence in the Gulf. The company's arrival may say just as much about the diminishing attractiveness of operating abroad than it does about the upside potential of these 130 blocks.
After the three aforementioned firms, LLOG and Royal Dutch Shell
As I argued when covering yet another lease sale last October, the deepwater dance marathon still has legs. Only when the bidders start staying home is it time to think about abandoning this powerful investing theme.