14 Companies Submit Bids in Eastern GOM

Fourteen companies have placed bids for the first sale of federal offshore leases off the coast of Florida in more than a decade. The 1.5 million acre area in the Gulf of Mexico garnered 190 bids for 95 tracts, about half of the available territory, according to the Minerals Management Service.

MMS spokesman Barney Congdon said the bidding pattern indicated the multiple companies had their eyes on the same tracts, perhaps close to where provable deepwater supplies of oil and natural gas already are being developed. The MMS will open the bids Wednesday in New Orleans.

Officials estimate the area up for bidding contains at least 185 million barrels of oil and 1.25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.