Originally posted on CBS Dallas / Fort Worth:
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The federal government is set to sell off oil and natural gas leases in the central Gulf of Mexico off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The sale, taking place in the Superdome, starts at 9 a.m. CDT and ends at noon, when the U.S. Department of the Interior is expected to announce the results.
The government is offering 7,434 tracts covering about 38 million acres. As of Tuesday, 593 bids were submitted by 48 companies for 454 tracts.
The blocks are located from three to about 230 miles offshore.
Federal officials estimate the region contains close to 31 billion barrels of oil and 134 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that are currently undiscovered and technically recoverable.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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