Salazar to announce results of Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale
NEW ORLEANS -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be in New Orleans today to announce the results of the central Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale, slated to begin at 9 a.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which regulates offshore drilling, has received 593 bids submitted by 48 companies on 454 federally owned oil and natural gas drilling tracts.
The lease sale, the first in the central Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010, offered about 39 million acres of Outer Continential Shelf tracts, or 7,434 tracts total, spanning three to more than 230 miles off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Some of the money will make its way back to Louisiana, where it is now constitutionally required to go to coastal protection and restoration projects.
In December, the first oil and gas lease sale since the BP oil spill, drew winning bids from 20 companies for 191 drilling tracts across more than 21 million acres in the western Gulf, bringing in $337.7 million.
In a sign that Wednesday's lease sale in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico could result in significant bidding, Statoil has placed bids on 32 blocks, an executive said Wednesday.
"We like it," Statoil Executive Vice President Bill Maloney said of the Gulf of Mexico. Maloney said there were other companies that had bid on more blocks, but acknowledged that Statoil's bidding was considerable. He declined to say how much Statoil had bid in terms of dollars.
Maloney said Statoil was looking to bolster its holdings in the Gulf of Mexico, one of several key parts of North America and a critical growth area for the Norwegian oil company.