The federal government's first auction of offshore petroleum leases in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster has drawn $337.7 million in winning bids.
Petroleum explorers have bid on 191 tracts in the western Gulf off the coast of Texas.
With natural gas prices low and the United States awash in the fuel, most of the bidding is centered on deepwater sites targeted for oil exploration. Twenty companies have issued 241 bids across the western Gulf totaling $712.7 million.
ConocoPhillips has submitted the largest bid. The Houston energy company will pay $103.2 million for a deepwater tract.