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An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Oil-and-gas companies including giants like Exxon and Shell offered $192 million in winning bids for Gulf of Mexico drilling leases in auction results the Interior Department unveiled yesterday.

Driving the news: The sale took place under unusual circumstances. The administration didn't want to hold it at all and had previously paused new sales.

  • A court challenge over the pause prevailed, although the case is ongoing.
  • The Associated Press notes the sale under President Biden "laid bare the hurdles he faces to reach climate goals dependent on deep cuts in fossil fuel emissions."

The intrigue: Exxon snapped up shallow water leases, drawing speculation it intends to use them as part of the company's proposal for a regional carbon capture and storage hub.

  • "I anticipate they'll use the area for direct capture of carbon and put it in the reservoirs of the blocks they acquire," Wood Mackenzie analyst Justin Rostant tells S&P Global Platts.

What's next: Interior, in announcing the auction results, said it would use updated emissions models in the future to "take substitution impacts and foreign oil consumption into account, resulting in the most robust projections ever of the climate impacts of offshore lease sales."

Go deeper: Chevron, Exxon are among top spenders at Biden offshore auction (Reuters)

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 29, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Cautious hope for CO2 capture after "false starts"

Expand chart
Data: IEA; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pipeline of carbon capture projects worldwide is growing and there are signs that fewer plans will die on the vine than in the past, the International Energy Agency said.

Why it matters: Carbon capture, utilization and storage has the potential to curb emissions from heavy industries and power generation. But the long-hoped-for scale-up of commercial deployment has unfolded very slowly.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

Massage, facial, pedicure... intravenous drip?

A salon on the Upper East Side of New York that offers IV drip therapies. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios

IV drips — the kind you might get if you're rushed to the hospital — are trending as a spa treatment, thanks in part to endorsements by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Madonna.

Why it matters: Like other "wellness" trends with a whiff of medical imprimatur, IV nutrient drips can be harmless or mildly restorative — or go awry, particularly in the wrong hands.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.