Oil companies snag Gulf of Mexico waters for offshore drilling in last bid before Biden transition

Photo does not have a caption

The industry saw Wednesday’s auction as potentially the last opportunity to lease federal waters for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for the next four years. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

In the last opportunity for oil companies to bid on federal Gulf of Mexico waters under a Trump administration, the federal government on Wednesday leased more than a half-million acres to companies for offshore oil drilling and production.

The leasing event, livestreamed from New Orleans, comes as President-Elect Joe Biden readies his transition — Biden promised during his campaign to ban new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters as part of his clean energy plan to reduce the use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels, which contribute to climate change.