BP wins drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico


BP has won the rights to drill for oil in 24 deepwater tracts in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company’s high bids at a federal auction Wednesday in New Orleans totaled $41.6 million, The Associated Press reported.

The purchases came less than a week after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifted a ban that had prevented the company from bidding on drilling contracts.

BP was suspended from the auctions in November 2012 after pleading guilty to criminal charges stemming from the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The company reached a deal on March 13 with the government that allows it to bid on drilling contracts so long as it has an EPA-approved auditor to keep watch on its safety and compliance.

“As the nation’s largest energy investor, BP is committed to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, where we have been an active player for a quarter century and have a multi-billion dollar investment program underway,” spokesman Brett Clanton said in a statement.

Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas spent $321.4 million in Wednesday’s auction for Gulf drilling leases, the highest of any company, the AP said.

States bordering the Gulf will share the revenue from nine of the leases. Those states will also share in a portion of the royalties from the oil.