WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it sold acreage in the Gulf of Mexico that may contain as much as 200 million barrels of oil and 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it sold off dozens of blocks to 12 offshore energy companies examining the Western Gulf of Mexico. It said the 20.7 million acres sold during its lease sale attracted more than $102 million in bids.
"This offshore oil and gas lease sale supports continued growth in safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production," BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau said in a statement Wednesday. "Over the past 14 months, the offshore oil and gas industry has invested well over $3 billion in new federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico."
ConocoPhillips submitted the highest bid for a single tract, $30.5 million, for Alaminos Canyon block 475.
BOEM said it received at least one bid within three miles of the maritime border with Mexico. The government said it would review the bid after lawmakers consider a maritime agreement with Mexico next year.
"The secretary of the interior may determine whether it is in the best interest of the United States either to open any such bids or to return the bid unopened," the government said in a statement.