BP bidding on Gulf of Mexico acreage in today's government sale

|By:, SA News Editor

BP (BP +0.4%) is bidding on new drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in nearly two years, submitting 13 bids in the Interior Department’s sale of tracts in the central Gulf of Mexico set to begin today in New Orleans.

Eight of BP’s bids are for blocks in the Mississippi Canyon leasing area, near the site of the company’s infamous Macondo well.

Last week's deal between BP and the EPA to lift the company's 16-month suspension from bidding in the previous three U.S. government auctions of the area cleared the way for BP's participation.

Beyond BP, other major oil companies including Exxon Mobil (XOM), ConocoPhillips (COP), Chevron (CVX), BHP Billiton (BHP), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Statoil (STO), as well as smaller independents, are vying for central Gulf acreage in the sale.