The U.S. may not hold a lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico next year because the Department of the Interior plans to conduct further environmental studies, the American Petroleum Institute said. Since the department generally takes as long as a year to finish such reviews, it needs to act faster to provide oil and natural gas companies with assurance. "Companies have to make decisions as to what they're going to do with their existing portfolio of leases," said Erik Milito, API's director of upstream operations. "This could impact companies' decisions."

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