Feds to livestream Gulf oil and gas lease sale

Markets Associated Press

A Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy, right, tells protesters John Clark, carrying a box with a copy of a petition against federal oil lease sales, and Blake Kopcho, second from left, that they cannot enter the building where the leasing agency has ... offices, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016 in Harahan, La. The protest was Tuesday, a day before the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has scheduled a lease sale for Gulf of Mexico water bottom off of Texas. Legal observer Bill Qugley, wearing hat, said Clark and Kopcho were among four demonstrators later arrested on a charge of trespassing. (AP Photo/Janet McConnaughey) (The Associated Press)

Five months after protesters disrupted an oil and gas lease sale for tracts in the Gulf of Mexico, the government is livestreaming a sale while closing the site in New Orleans where bids are read.

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Spokeswoman Caryl Fagot (fuh-GOH) says the demonstration in March contributed to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's decision to close the site while livestreaming Wednesday's sale.

But she says it's not the only reason. The bureau has been holding its lease renewals entirely online for several years, and has been looking at livestreaming for a while, to broaden the audience.

Wednesday's sale will offer 23.5 million acres off of Texas.

Last year's sale was the smallest ever for that area. Five companies bid on 33 tracts for a total of $22.7 million in high bids. Each tract drew one bid.