Oil firms bid on 95 of 233 tracts offered in Eastern Gulf sale

The US Minerals Management Service said Tuesday that oil companies have bid on 95 of 233 tracts offered in a rare eastern Gulf of Mexico lease sale. It will open the Sale 181 bids, 190 offers from 14 companies, Wednesday morning in New Orleans.

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Dec. 4 -- Oil companies have bid briskly for acreage in a rare eastern Gulf of Mexico lease sale.

The US Minerals Management Service said Tuesday that oil companies have bid on 95 of 233 tracts offered. It will open the bids for Sale 181 Wednesday morning in New Orleans.

MMS said Monday it has received 190 bids from 14 companies. All 95 tracts drawing bids were in 1,600 m of water or deeper and carried 1/8 royalties.

It said 48 tracts drew one bid, 19 had two bids, 14 had three, 8 had four, and 6 tracts had five bids.

MMS said the tracts with the greatest number of bids were Lloyd Ridge Block 399 and De Soto Canyon blocks 180, 224, 269, 445, and 620.

The agency said the sale area is more than 100 miles from the Alabama-Florida state line and 285 miles from Tampa, Fla. The oil industry had wanted even more acreage offered, but the administration of President George W. Bush slashed the offering because of Florida's objections to drilling off its coast.

Undiscovered resources in the sale area are estimated at 1.25 tcf of gas and 185 million bbl of oil.

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