Equilibrium patterns of competition in OCS lease sales
Author(s)Smith, James Lee
An equilibrium model of bidding behavior is developed that accounts for observed fluctuations in the degree of competition to acquire offshore petroleum leases. As one might expect, such fluctuations are related to the heterogeneity of geological prospects that are offered for sale, with a relatively high degree of competition to acquire tracts of the highest quality. The equilibrium configuration of bids is also shown to reflect structural characteristics, such as capital market constraints, that may restrict competition in the lease auction. Empirical evidence is presented which tends to confirm our general theory of bidding equilibria, but which contradicts the popular notion that capital constraints have restricted competition in OCS lease sales. Policy implications are discussed in the concluding section.
MIT Energy Laboratory
Oil and gas leases