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Energy & Environment

Demand Drying Up For Drilling In The Gulf

It’s one more impact the lower price of oil is having on the energy industry: the demand to drill in the Gulf of Mexico has dropped as well.

The federal government's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management leases acreage out in the Gulf of Mexico for oil & gas drilling. Last month, sales of those leases in the Western Gulf off the coast of Texas hit an all-time low. Drillers shelled out a mere $18 million in bids to federal regulators, a far cry from just two years ago when bids topped $100 million. But that was back when oil was selling for more than double what it is today.

There's also a new environmental twist that could limit where drillers can drill when they decide the price of oil is high enough to warrant it. There are proposals to greatly expand a protected area, an aquatic sanctuary known as the Flower Gardens.

Federal regulators will hold a public meeting Tuesday afternoon in Houston to answer questions about the environmental impact of drilling in 72 million acres of the Gulf that'll be offered for leases in 2018.