ConocoPhillips paid $30.58 million, the highest bid, for exploration and drilling rights for a tract in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

The tract is located about 200 miles south of Galveston, TX and only 60 miles northeast of the Perdido platform, owned by Royal Dutch Shell.

ConocoPhillips is a global exploration and production company based in Houston. It currently operates one oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Management, only 12 companies submitted 61 bids on 53 tracts. In total the bids amounted to $144.7 million, from which only $102.35 million were successful.

The decreasing number of bids, according to John Rodi, Regional Director of the Bureau, illustrated how the improvement of technology to target oil deposits has reduced the number of exploratory projects.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Management is tasked with approving leases to producers wishing to explore and drill in the gulf.

The highest sum of bids submitted on Wednesday’s sale was by ConocoPhillips was $50.3 million, followed by Chevron Corp’s $32.8 million, Maersk’s $6.8 million and Shell’s $4.2 million.


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