21 million acres available in Western GOM lease sale
NEW ORLEANS – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau announced that BOEM will hold a lease sale tomorrow that will make nearly 21 million acres offshore Texas available for oil and natural gas exploration and development.
BOEM estimates that Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 233 could lead to the production of up to 200 million barrels of oil and 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas. During tomorrow’s lease sale, BOEM will open 61 bids submitted by 12 companies on 53 offshore blocks.
“Safe and responsible development of the Gulf of Mexico’s vital energy resources will continue to help power our nation and drive our economy, generating jobs, fostering economic opportunities for local communities and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil,” said Beaudreau.
Tomorrow’s lease sale, which will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans starting at 9:00 AM CDT, offers 3,864 blocks, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (five to 3,346 meters). The acreage includes all available unleased or non-protected areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. It will be the third of 12 Gulf of Mexico sales under the Administration’s new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, and the second of five Western Gulf of Mexico lease sales that will be held under the program.
The sale builds on the first two auctions in the current Five Year Program – a 39-million-acre sale held in March, which netted almost $1.2 billion high bids; and a 20-million-acre sale held last November that netted nearly $134 million. Announced in June 2012, the Five Year Program makes all of the offshore areas with the highest conventional resource potential available for exploration and development. Together, this includes more than 75 percent of the Nation’s undiscovered, technically recoverable offshore oil and gas resources.
Lease terms include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development in the region.
The terms also continue a range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers, including an increased minimum bid for deepwater tracts, escalating rental rates and tiered durational terms with relatively short base periods followed by additional time under the same lease if the operator drills a well during the initial period.