U.S. government to sell 21.6 million offshore acres

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The federal government is selling 21.6 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says Wednesday morning’s sale involves more than 4,000 tracts located between 9 miles and 250 miles off the Texas coast. The tracts range in depth from 16 to 10,975 feet.

The federal agency expects the tracts could yield up to 200 million barrels of oil and 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The Energy Information Administration says that last year the United States consumed about 18.5 million barrels of oil and 26 million cubic feet of natural gas daily.

Wednesday’s offering is part of a five-year program that’s led to about 60 million offshore acres sold so far, garnering about $2.3 billion in revenues.