OSLO, March 23 (Reuters) - Norway's Statoil has "reset" its exploration campaign in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico by placing top bids for 13 offshore deepwater oil and gas leases there in the latest auction, the company said Thursday.
The majority state-owned company said in January it was considering whether to end its costly search for oil and gas in the region following a series of exploration failures.
Statoil made total bids of $44.5 million in the auction, second only to Shell and ahead of Hess Corp, Chevron and Exxon.
The outcome will now be subject to a 90-days formal review and final approval.
"We continue to believe in the potential of the Gulf of Mexico," Statoil's Tore Loeseth, head of exploration in the U.S. and Mexico, said in a statement.
Statoil said it expected its offshore U.S. production to nearly double by 2020 from about 60,000 barrels per day in 2016. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing Terje Solsvik)