Dismal Interest in Offshore GOM Lease Sale

For the first time the annual Federal sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico was broadcast live on the internet. The oil and gas industry was very cautious and only three companies places bids, and they were for competing tracks. 4,400 tracks were offered for exploration and drilling. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said that between them BP Exploration, BHP Billiton Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corp. offered $18 million for a total of only 24 tracks. This represents the fewest companies and fewest bids ever. Continued low oil prices are blamed for the lack of interest.