Noble Energy ( NBL) said it's the apparent high bidder on eight deepwater lease blocks in the Gulf of Mexico. Out of the eight apparent high bids, the company had partners on seven and bid alone on one. Noble Energy has a 50% working interest in the seven joint blocks. All of the bids are subject to approval by the Minerals Management Service of the Interior Department. Noble Energy said the eight blocks cover in excess of 46,000 acres in water depths ranging from nearly 1,900 feet to nearly 5,700 feet. "Our deepwater exploration partnership with Samson Offshore company was an important factor in our success at this lease sale by creating two independent teams to evaluate the best prospects," said Charles D. Davidson, Noble's chairman, president and CEO. "The new leases will add significant opportunities to our expanding deepwater exploration program."