GOM Lease Sales Up 38%

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Near record oil and gas prices led to robust bidding in an offshore federal lease sale today. The Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 198, garnered $588,309,791 in high bids from 82 companies for oil and natural gas leases in the Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The total of all bids was $978,310,887. This represents a 38% increase over last years Central Gulf Sale.

The sale, held March 15 in New Orleans, was conducted by the Minerals Management Service. In Sale 198 the agency received 707 bids on 405 tracts. Johnnie Burton, Director of the Minerals Management Service, spoke briefly at the sale. “The Department is committed to working with all interested parties to enhance energy development in an environmentally responsible manner in available areas of the Gulf,” she said.

In this sale, 4040 blocks comprising approximately 21.3 million acres offshore Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi were offered.

While interest in deep water production continues, the large number of tracts receiving bids in shallow water is of particular note, indicating industry interest in deep gas in shallow waters, as well as deep water oil and gas production.

Amerada Hess Corporation submitted the highest bid on Green Canyon Block 287 for $42,789,994. Newfield Exploration Company and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation submitted the second highest bid on Green Canyon Block 551 for $33,989,760.

Each of the high bids on a block will go through an evaluation process to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.

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