New Gulf Leases Could Yield 1B Barrels of Oil 38M acres set for auction By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Feb 8, 2013 4:48 AM CST 19 comments Comments The US is leasing up to 38 million acres for oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – The US is nearly ready to auction off oil and gas drilling leases for up to 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico—an area which could yield some 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Wall Street Journal reports. The March 20 sale will cover areas throughout the Central Gulf, off Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Areas available range from three miles to 230 miles offshore. Last June's Central Gulf sale of more than 2.4 million acres garnered $1.7 billion; another Gulf sale is set for later this year, the Journal notes.