$581.8 million in bids accepted for petroleum tracts

$581.8 million in bids accepted for petroleum tracts

NEW ORLEANS High bids approaching 582 (M) million dollars were accepted today by the federal government on 392 offshore leases in the central Gulf of Mexico for petroleum exploration.
The Minerals Management Service, which manages offshore leases, said it rejected 12 bids totaling six-point-three (M) million from the March sale because they did not meet fair market value. The tracts are located off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The agency said the sale indicated continued strong interest of both major and independent companies in the Gulf, not only in the deepwater regions but in the shallower shelf. That’s where easy-to-get-to deposits of natural gas were produced years ago.

Armed with new technology — and pushed by high gas prices — companies are returning to explore deeper gas deposits.

This year’s sale figure far exceeded last year’s auction when 342 (M) million dollars in winning bids were accepted for 403 tracts.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press

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