NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Oil and gas companies made $178.1 million in high bids for federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico. That's about 28 percent above the last gulf-wide sale in March.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says 29 companies bid on 144 tracts Wednesday.
High bids averaged $1.2 million, up from $939,000 in March.
Regional Director Michael Celata (suh-LAH-tuh) says there's clearly continued interest in deep water.
Spokesman John Filostrat says the four highest bids were in water more than 1,600 meters (about a mile) deep. They added up to $53 million, nearly 30 percent of Wednesday's total.
The highest were Hess Corp.'s $25.9 million and Chevron USA's $11.1 million.
Exxon-Mobil Corp. had 25 high bids for $40.5 million, including the day's third- and fourth-highest, at $8.5 million and $7.5 million.