Yesterday marked the fourth time the U.S. Department of the Interior auctioned off leases in the Gulf of Mexico since the Macondo spill back in 2010. This auction is a big one: The total land available for lease is just under 40 million acres; it is believed that the total acreage contains around 800 million barrels of oil and just under 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. With successful oil discoveries also in the news recently, it's possible that much of the skepticism surrounding Gulf exploration may be over.  

Today, contributor Tyler Crowe checks in with Motley Fool analyst Austin Smith about this big auction, and talks about what companies he thinks could be potential buyers in this sale. While BP (NYSE:BP) has made it clear that it will not be participating in this round, Tyler thinks that recent discoveries by Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Anadarko (NYSE:APC) might inspire the company to make a couple bids.