Western Gulf sale garners bids on 81 blocks

Bids: 14 companies vie for 81 blocks

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has received 93 bids on 81 tracts ahead of Lease Sale 238 for the Western Gulf of Mexico.

Fourteen companies submitted bids on available acreage in the western part of the US Gulf. BOEM officials will open the bids and announce apparent winners at an event at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Wednesday morning.

The sale put on offer more than 21 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development.

It included all unleased and non-protected areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, including 4026 tracts from nine to more than 250 miles off the coast, in depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet.

BOEM estimates the lease sale could result in the production of between 116 million to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 billion to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Lease sales in the Western Gulf typically draw less industry interest than in the Central Gulf, and the early returns this round are no exception. Central Sale 231 in March brought in 380 offers for 326 blocks from 42 companies.

However, the Western Gulf sale this year brings a new layer of intrigue, coming barely a week after Mexico unveiled opportunities for international players to explore waters within that country's maritime borders following a historic overhaul of its oil and gas policies.

US tracts that border Mexican tracts could be in play as some lie only a few miles from discoveries in the Mexican Gulf.

The previous Western Gulf sale in August last year attracted 61 bids from 12 different companies on 53 blocks.

US Lease Sale 238 is the sixth offshore sale under the Obama administration’s outer continental shelf oil and gas leasing programme for 2012-2017.

The first five sales in the Five-Year Programme offered more than 60 million acres for development and garnered more than $2.3 billion in bid revenues.

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