Companies are showing more interest in oil drilling in the Gulf, as evidenced by an uptick in high land bidding. The lease sale in New Orleans that closed this week drew 163 bids from 28 companies. President of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Chris John says the sale price of $275 million for over 900,000 acres is significantly higher than they saw last March.

“The $275 million in leases are better than 70 percent of the last lease sale we had last year,” John said.

Oil prices are seeing a slow uptick, as oil is trading at just over $48 a barrel in the US. But John says that’s not the only factor in the industry. He says a lot plays into the increased sense of optimism among oil and gas companies.

“I think there’s optimism in Washington, D.C. with the Trump Administration and the cabinet secretaries and the regulations that he wants to roll back,” John said.

Coastal cities in Louisiana have seen job loss as a result of the slowdown in drilling. But John hopes to see more job creation as these projects get up and running in the Gulf. He says one new job in the industry can cause a ripple effect for more hires.

“These mega projects that are out in the Gulf that these leases reflect really translate into a multiplier of 5 or 6 or 7 jobs are created,” John said.