NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Interior Department says an oil lease sale in August will offer about 78 million acres of Gulf of Mexico waterbottom. That's about the same as for sales last August and next week.

The three previous Gulf-wide sales have brought bids on 1 percent or less of the available acreage.

For more than 30 years, separate areas were offered in March and August.

After years of low prices and dwindling bidding, the Obama administration scheduled five years of Gulf-wide sales. They began in August 2017.

The Bureau of Offshore Energy Management's next sale is March 20 in New Orleans.

Like all sales since August 2016, it will be livestreamed, with the site where bids are read closed to the public.

Protesters disrupted the last open auction.