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Gulf oil and gas leases to go up for sale in March

Gulf Oil Spill Ready Or NotGULF OF MEXICO — Oil and gas leases for 40 million acres off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama will be offered by the federal government in a March sale at the Superdome in New Orleans, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Friday.

The sale will include approximately 7,611 blocks, covering 40.5 million acres, located from three to 230 nautical miles offshore.

The water depths range from nine to more than 11,000 feet.

The bid deadline for interested companies is March 17. The opening of bids are set for a day later.

BOEM said the sale was part of the Obama administration’s plan to expand safe energy production.

“As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico is a cornerstone of our domestic energy portfolio, offering vital oil and gas resources that further economic growth and continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Walter Cruickshank, acting director for BOEM.

The sale could result in the production of 460 to 894 million barrels of oil and 1.9 to 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the bureau said.

Last March, high bids totaled $850.8 million when central Gulf of Mexico tracts were offered in New Orleans. A central Gulf lease sale a year earlier drew $1.2 billion in high bids.

In August of last year, a western Gulf lease sale drew $102.4 million in high bids for tracts off the Texas coast.

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