Houston-based ConocoPhillips submitted the high bid of $103.2 million at the sale, which took place at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Petroleum explorers bid on more than 190 deepwater tracts in the western Gulf off the coast of Texas.
Randall Luthi is president of the National Ocean Industries Association, a trade group for the offshore energy industry. Luthi was in New Orleans for the sale.
“In terms of the number of bidders, it was down a little bit. In terms of the number of tracts that were actually bid upon, that was down a little bit. But I still think it shows a great commitment on the part of the oil and gas industry to continue to try to explore and develop the Gulf of Mexico.”
Twenty companies issued over 240 bids across the Western Gulf, totaling $713 million. With natural gas prices low and the United States awash in the fuel, most of the bidding centered on deepwater sites targeted for oil exploration.