Seventy-three leading oil and industrial groups today (Friday) put in bids totalling 135 million sterling (324 million dollars) at an auction of 15 areas of the North Sea between Britain and Northern Europe.
AV Oil rig (7 shots)
GV Delegates seated at oil auction (3 shots)
SCU Getty speaking
TRANSCRIPT SEQ 3: GETTY: "I've often wondered about that myself. I haven't any explanation for it. It's just a difference in evaluation.
BIERMAN: For example, one block that you bid I think half a million for, the lowest bid was a quarter of a million pounds and the highest 21 million, it's an enormous discrepancy.
GETTY: There is a discrepancy. People read the figures differently and some may have more information than others.
BIERMAN: Does inspired intuition come into it at all?
GETTY: I wouldn't think so."
Initials SGM/0231 SGM/0220
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Background: Seventy-three leading oil and industrial groups today (Friday) put in bids totalling 135 million sterling (324 million dollars) at an auction of 15 areas of the North Sea between Britain and Northern Europe.
The bids were put forward secretly in sealed envelopes. When they were added up, the final figure offered for the sea-bed concessions totalled 37 million starling (89 million dollars).
It was the first time the British Government had used an auction to allocate concessions, a system used by the United States in the Alaskan oil rush.
The biggest single bid, from Shell-Esso, was over 21 million sterling (50 million dollars) for a plot east of the Shetland Islands.
One unsuccessful bidder was American oil king Paul Getty, reputedly one of the world's richest men. Afterwards he gave BBC reporter John Bierman his comments on the bidding.
SYNOPSIS: A big new oil-rush is under way, beneath the waters of the North Sea, which lie between British and Northern Europe; successful oil and gas rigs are already operating off the British coast, and natural gas from them is piped into many homes in Britain. Now the oil men are ready to carry the search to new areas of the sea-bed in the hope of striking rich deposits.
The British Government has opened the new rush by auctioning 15 areas of sea-bed, borrowing the method the United States used to allocate oil concessions in Alaska. The successful bids totalled 37 million pounds. American oil-king Paul Getty was one of the less lucky nidders. Afterwards he was asked why some plots attracted such a wide range of bids.