The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) reports that the Lease Sale 248 garnered $18,067,020 in high bids for 24 tracts covering 138,240 acres in the Western Gulf of Mexico planning area.

Three companies participated in 24 bids.

BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc. submitted 12 high bids totaling $9,999,760. While the company mostly bid for tracts in the East Banks area, its highest bid ($1,077,480) was for the Alaminos Canyon block 127.

BP Exploration & Production Inc. submitted 10 high bids totaling $6,317,260.

Exxon Mobil Corp. submitted two high bids totaling $1,750,000. Its and the sale’s highest bid, $1,124,000, was for the East Breaks block 590.

Each bid will go through a 90-day evaluation process to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.

BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said: “Though this sale reflects today’s market conditions and industry’s current development strategy, the bidding confirms that there is continued interest in the deepwater areas of the Gulf.”

In this sale, BOEM offered 23.8 million acres in federal waters offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development. It included about 4,399 blocks, located from nine to 250 nautical miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 ft (5 to 3,340 m).

Following the sale, NOIA President Randall Luthi said: “The relatively modest results of today’s Western Gulf of Mexico lease sale are indicative of the current market conditions and regulatory environment. 

“Despite these challenging circumstances, the companies that participated in today’s sale are investing millions of dollars in the future of America’s energy and economic security with no guarantee of success or financial return.

“The purchase of a lease block is a first step in a lengthy process that involves rigorous regulatory oversight including extensive environmental reviews, permitting, and safety checks.”

Today’s sale was the first federal offshore oil and gas auction broadcast live on the internet.