Latest lease sale gets just $18 million in high bids

AUGUST 24, 2016 — Though today's oil and gas Lease Sale 248 was the the first federal offshore oil and gas auction broadcast live on the internet, the results were still dismal. It attracted $18,067,020 in high bids for 24 tracts covering 138,240 acres in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.

A total of three offshore energy companies — Exxon Mobil Corporation, BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc. and BP Exploration & Production Inc. — participated in 24 bids.

In this sale, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) offered 23.8 million acres in federal waters offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development.

Blaming the low bidding on low oil prices, BOEM regional director Michael Celata told the

AP the $18 million sale was below last year's record low in total money offered, number of bids and number of companies participating.

Last year, the same area off the Texas coast attracted 33 bids from five companies for a total of $22.7 million.

BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper tried to find something positive to say.

"The Gulf of Mexico continues to be one of the most productive basins in the world and is an important part of our Nation's domestic energy portfolio," she declared. "Though this sale reflects today's market conditions and industry's current development strategy, the bidding confirms that there is continued interest in the deepwater areas of the Gulf".

Following today's sale, each bid will go through an extensive 90-day evaluation process to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.

Statistics for Western Sale 248 are available HERE

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