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Interest down in offshore lease sale


NEW ORLEANS — In the face of lower energy prices and big supply surpluses, petroleum exploration companies have pulled back bids for Wednesday’s auction of Gulf of Mexico tracts off the coast of Texas.

The federal Minerals Management Service says it received 189 bids from 26 companies on 162 tracts. Last year’s sale in the western Gulf attracted 423 bids from 53 companies on 319 tracts. That sale resulted in $483.9 million in winning bids.

The western Gulf typically is centered around natural gas. A year ago, gas was trading for about $9.50 per thousand cubic feet – compared with about $3.10 now.

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