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By Robert Rapier on Mar 19, 2009 with no responses

The Oil Industry Helps Bail Out AIG

OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But they did just chip in close a billion dollars to the government coffers that are propping up AIG:

US Central Gulf Lease Sale Bids Total $703 Million

HOUSTON -(Dow Jones)- U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Central Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 208, held Wednesday in New Orleans, attracted more than $703 million in high bids.

The sale was conducted by Interior’s Minerals Management Service, or MMS, and had 70 companies submitting 476 bids on 348 tracts comprising over 1.9 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

However, that amount was lower than last year’s take (also a small fraction of the size of the AIG bailout):

The total amount of money that MMS would collect from this Central Gulf Lease sale is lower than last year, which attracted 78 companies and collected a record $3.7 billion, amid booming prices for oil and gas.

Given that we are now into AIG for $170 billion, another 242 successful auctions like the one yesterday and the AIG debt will be covered. Of course that’s assuming we aren’t soon out another $170 billion, and the oil industry hasn’t been taxed out of existence.