NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The federal Interior Department is offering nearly 21 million acres off of Texas for oil and natural gas leases.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says 12 companies have submitted 61 bids on 53 offshore blocks out of the 3,864 offered.

They'll be opened Wednesday in the Superdome.

The lease sale offers all available unleased or non-protected areas in the western Gulf of Mexico. They're nine to 250 miles offshore, at depths ranging from 16 feet to just over two miles.

A sale in March brought nearly $1.2 billion in high bids, and one in November brought nearly $134 million.

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