The Latest: Oil lease sale: 3 companies bid on 24 tracts

AP News
|
Posted: Aug 24, 2016 9:59 AM
The Latest: Oil lease sale: 3 companies bid on 24 tracts

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on federal oil lease sale (all times local):

8:55 a.m.

The federal government says three companies are bidding on acreage in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas — and they've made a total of 24 bids on 24 tracts out of more than 4,000 offered.

That's even fewer than last year's sale, which was the smallest ever for the western Gulf. Last year, five companies made $22.7 million in high bids — also one per tract, on 33 tracts.

The statistics were released in advance of Wednesday's sale, which is the first to be broadcast live on the internet.

At earlier sales, an official from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management read bids to oil company representatives and others in a Superdome ballroom in New Orleans. A bureau spokeswoman says protests in March and April played a part in the change, but the agency also wants to broaden the audience by opening it to people anywhere.

The three companies bidding are BP Exploration and Production Inc., BHP Billiton Petroleum Inc., and Exxon Mobil Corp. BP bid on 13 tracts, BHP on nine tracts and Exxon Mobil bid on two.

___

2:45 a.m.

The federal government says that, for the first time, it's broadcasting an oil and gas lease sale live on the internet.

The sale Wednesday offers all 23.8 million acres available for drilling and exploration in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast.

At earlier sales, an official from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management read bids to oil company representatives and others in a Superdome ballroom in New Orleans.

A bureau spokeswoman has said protests that disrupted a lease sale in March played a part in the change. But Caryl Fagot (fuh-GOH) said the agency also wants to broaden the audience by opening it to people anywhere.

Last year's sale for the western Gulf was the smallest ever: $22.7 million in high bids. Five companies bid on 33 tracts, with one bid per tract.