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US holds huge crude sale in Gulf coming off climate pledges

US holds huge crude sale in Gulf coming off climate pledges


US holds huge crude sale in Gulf coming off climate pledges

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Interior Department auctioned hundreds of oil and gas leases from federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday in the first such sale under President Joe Biden and just days after he made promises for drastic reductions in fossil fuels at a climate conference in Scotland.

Companies including Shell, BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil offered bids on 307 tracts totaling nearly 2,700 square miles (6,950 square kilometers). That’s the largest total for a single auction since Gulf-wide bidding resumed in 2017.

It will take years to develop the leases before companies start pumping crude. That means they could keep producing long past 2030, a date that some scientists claim the world needs to be well on the way to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The auction came after attorneys general from Republican states successfully sued in federal court to lift a suspension on federal oil and gas sales that Biden imposed when he took office.