Near record oil and gas prices helped boost the bidding in two offshore federal lease sales held in New Orleans in March. Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 194 brought in $354 million in high bids from 80 companies for oil and natural gas leases in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The total of all bids was $540 million. Eastern Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 197 exceeded expectations with almost $7 million in total bids, according to the Minerals Management Service.
The MMS received 651 bids on 428 tracts in the Central Gulf sale. A total of 4,063 tracts comprising approximately 21.4 million acres offshore Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi were offered.
While interest in deepwater continues, the large number of tracts receiving bids in shallow water was of particular note. “We believe this reflects definite industry interest in deep gas in shallow waters, as well as deep water oil and gas production in response to royalty relief offered by MMS,” MMS Director Johnnie Burton said.
The highest bid received on a block in the Central Gulf Sale was $21.2 million from Stone Energy Corp. and Dominion Exploration & Production Inc. for West Cameron Area Block 132.
Lease Sale 194 Top Five Companies
(Total Number of High Bids)
Company Total High Bids Sum of High Bids
& Production Inc. 25 $52,300,892
Focus Exploration LLC 25 $10,176,565
& Production Co. 23 $28,053,925
Offshore Inc. 22 $34,859.680
Energy Partners Ltd. 22 $15,052,672
Source: Minerals Management Service