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US to offer all available Gulf of Mexico waters for oil, gas leasing in March

Houston β€” The Trump administration this March will again offer 78 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas leasing, the Interior Department announced Tuesday.

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The lease sale will include all available unleased areas in the Gulf's federal waters, the agency said. It does not include eastern Gulf waters currently under congressional moratorium.

The sale follows a Gulf sale in August which also offered all 78 million acres in the Gulf. That sale resulted in about $178 million in high bids on 144 tracts covering over 801,000 acres.

The sale will include terms for a 12.5% royalty rate for leases in less than 200 meters of water depth and a royalty rate of 18.75% for all other leases.

The 12.5% royalty rate is "in recognition of current hydrocarbon price conditions and the marginal nature of remaining Gulf of Mexico shallow water resources," Interior said in a statement. -- Brian Scheid,

-- Edited by Richard Rubin,