NEW ORLEANS – High bids from yesterday’s western Gulf of Mexico lease sale totaled more than $133 million on 116 tracts covering 652,522 acres, says the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Each bid will now go through “a strict evaluation process within BOEM to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded,” adds the bureau
A total of 13 offshore energy companies submitted 131 bids on this Lease Sale 229.
ConocoPhillips and Chevron were the most active, together netting 90 high bids. Other active companies included BHP Billiton Petroleum with 10 high bids and Exxon Mobil with 4.
Most of the interest was in the Alaminos Canyon, where Shell’s Perdido platform is located, and the East Breaks area. Water depths on the blocks range from 200 m (656 ft.) to more than 1,600 m (5,248 ft.).
The highest bid on a single tract was $17,221,317 by Chevron for East Breaks block 546. Chevron U.S.A., Inc. submitted the highest total amount in bonus bids, totaling $56,031,099 on 28 tracts. Chevron won drilling rights in four East Breaks blocks.
Although the BOEM received at least one bid near the U.S.-Mexico continental shelf boundary, those bids were not opened Wednesday and may never be opened, says the bureau. A 10-year moratorium on drilling within 1.4 nautical miles of either side of that maritime boundary was to expire in January 2011 but was extended until January 2014.
BOEM also recently announced that the next Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale, proposed Lease Sale 227, will take place on March 20, 2013, covering 38 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.