The Trump administration on Wednesday held a new auction for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), yielding some $178 million in winning bids, a slight improvement from its last major lease sale in March which was at the time was called a major setback for the president’s plan to increase oil and gas investment in the region. The new sale encompassed 77.3 million acres and 14,474 unleased blocks in federal waters off of the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. It received 171 bids by 29 companies, with independent oil and gas producer Hess making the largest bid at $25 million. Hess is the eighth largest producer in the GOM and also has offshore assets in Europe, Asia Pacific and South America. In the previous March sale, oil companies bid on just 1 percent of the total acreage that was offered at the time, raising […]