Officials say there's still interest in Gulf oil
NEW ORLEANS - Federal and trade group officials say there's still interest in Gulf of Mexico oil and gas, despite low figures from Wednesday's lease sale for tracts off the Texas coast.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management official Mike Celata says the bureau is not considering a cut in oil company royalty payments to encourage more bidding. And he notes that the oil business tends to run in cycles.
Celata says the 26 bids submitted by BHP Billiton Petroleum (Deepwater) Inc. indicate long-term potential for business in the Gulf.
He and National Offshore Industries Association President Randall Luthi both say there's continuing interest in the larger central Gulf, especially in deep water.
Luthi says the western Gulf draws less interest because it tends to produce natural gas, which pays less than oil.