Gulf of Mexico Gulf of Mexico oil, gas lease bidding down from last 2 sales

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Oil and gas companies made $159.4 million in high bids Wednesday for federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico, down from sales in March and a year ago.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says 29 companies bid on 144 tracts. That’s about 1% of the tracts offered.

The March sale drew $244.3 million in high bids on 227 tracts, and the one in August 2018 brought $178.1 million in bids on 144 tracts.

A news release said this year’s total high bids are the highest since 2015.

Agency statistics indicate totals of $419.2 million this year and $561.5 million in 2015. Totals were $174.5 million in 2016, $395.9 million in 2017 and $302.8 million last year.

In the decade preceding 2015, Gulf lease sales averaged $1.6 billion a year.