The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that will move offshore oil and gas lease auctions to an online platform.

According to the Hill, the House passed the Innovation in Offshore Leasing Act with a voice vote on Tuesday.

The bill grants the U.S. Department of the Interior the power to move offshore oil and gas lease auctions to an online platform, according to Splash 24/7.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held its first ever live-stream of an offshore oil and gas block auction last month.

The bill, sponsored by Garret Graves (R-La.) and Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), grants the BOEM one year to move the bidding process to an online format.

The bill must now be passed by the Senate.

The National Ocean Industries Association, an industry group, praised the bill’s passage, calling it a “common-sense way to incorporate modern technology and transparency into the offshore lease sale process.”

The Bureau of Land Management said late last month that it will move forward with offering online lease sales following a successful pilot project in 2009.

The BLM estimates that internet-based auctions could boost aggregate lease sale revenues by about $2 million a year.

“The BLM believes that online sales have the potential to generate greater competition by making participation easier, which has the potential to increase bonus bids,” the agency said.


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