NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- ConocoPhillips Co. was the biggest spender Wednesday, at $103.2 million, when bid winners were announced for western Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leases.
The U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the 241 high bids submitted by 20 companies for 191 tracts covering more than 1 million acres off the Texas shore totaled $337.69 million. The sum of all bids received was $712.73 million, the department said in a release.
ConocoPhillips was the apparent high bidder on 75 blocks, the most for any company, the department said.
"Today's lease sale, the first since the tragic events of Deepwater Horizon, continues the Obama administration's commitment to a balanced and comprehensive energy plan," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, referring to last year's BP oil rig disaster that left 11 people dead and produced the world's largest off-shore oil spill. "Offshore drilling will never be risk-free, but over the last 19 months we have moved quickly and aggressively with the most significant oil and gas reforms in U.S. history to make it safer and more environmentally responsible.
"Today's sale is another step in ensuring the safe and responsible development of the nation's offshore energy resources."