A US auction of oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday resulted in sales worth more than $190m. Top bidders were Chevron, Anadarko, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon. Approximately 1.7m acres sold from the available 80m acres. While Chevron topped the list of spenders, Exxon bought the most acreage, winning almost a third of the tracts sold.
The lease sale was court-ordered. President Biden’s administration paused oil and gas lease sales in January this year, shortly after Biden took office. However, 13 states sued, saying that the White House had bypassed bureaucratic steps, and in June a judge agreed, leading to this week’s auction. An appeal of the judge’s decision is pending.
Department of the Interior spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said the agency is “conducting a more comprehensive analysis of greenhouse gas impacts from potential oil and gas lease sales than ever before.”
Environmental groups are calling on Biden to reform the leasing program.
The average price per acre was around $112, which compares with an average $233 achieved in a Gulf of Mexico auction last year.