Gulf lease sale draws $949.3 million in high bids

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - With oil prices up $30 a barrel from last year, energy companies issued $949.3 million in high bids for federal offshore petroleum leases off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The Minerals Management Service says 67 companies submitted 642
bids on 468 tracts in the central Gulf of Mexico. Crude oil closed
Tuesday at $81.70 per barrel.

Last year, oil was around $50 a barrel - and the sale attracted 476 bids on 348 tracts. That sale garnered $703 million in winning bids.

In 2008, with oil well above $100, the sale set a record $3.67 billion in high bids.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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