The U. S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service
(MMS) in New Orleans held a sale of offshore oil and natural gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico
, attracting $300.6 million in high bids from 63 companies. Sale 175 is the ninth lease sale held subject to the provisions of the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act, passed in 1995.
Of 4,203 tracts comprising approximately 22.3 million acres offshore Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi offered, the MMS received 469 bids on 344 tracts. The total of all bids was $454.9 million.
The highest bid received was $23 million submitted by Exxon Asset Management Company for Mississippi Canyon Block 555. Approximately 34 percent of the tracts receiving bids are in ultra-deep water (more than 2,624 ft.). The deepest tract bid on was Walker Ridge Block 812 in 1,1805.8 ft. of water. Approximately 60 percent of the bidding activity (202 of 344 tracts) was located in relatively shallower water with heavy activity coming from many independent oil companies.
The high bid on a block (each approximately nine square miles) will go through an evaluation process to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.