Oil and gas leases for 40 million acres off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama will be offered by the federal government in a March sale at the Superdome in New Orleans, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Friday.

The sale will include 7,611 blocks, covering about 40.5 million acres, located from about 3 to 265 miles offshore. The water depths range up to about 11,000 feet.

The bid deadline for companies is March 17. The opening of bids is set for a day later.

BOEM said the sale is part of the Obama administration’s plan to expand safe energy production.

“As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico is a cornerstone of our domestic energy portfolio, offering vital oil and gas resources that further economic growth and continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Walter Cruickshank, acting director for BOEM.

The sale could result in the production of 460 million to 894 million barrels of oil and 1.9 trillion cubic feet to 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the bureau said.

Last March, high bids totaled $850.8 million when central Gulf of Mexico tracts were offered in New Orleans. A central Gulf lease sale a year earlier drew $1.2 billion in high bids.

In August 2013, a western Gulf lease sale drew $102.4 million in high bids for tracts off Texas.