U.S. goverment to offer 20 million acres in western GOM for oil and gas development
WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, November 28, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold an oil and gas lease sale that will make more than 20 million offshore acres available, representing all unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. The Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale builds on two major Gulf of Mexico lease sales in the past year, a 21-million-acre sale held last December and a 39-million-acre sale held in June.
The lease sale will be held at 9:00 a.m. CDT Wednesday, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It will be the first lease sale held under the administration’s new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012–2017 (Five Year Program), which makes available for exploration and development all of the offshore areas with the highest conventional resource potential. Together these include more than 75% of the nation’s undiscovered, technically recoverable offshore oil and gas resources. BOEM also recently announced that the next Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale, proposed Lease Sale 227, will take place on March 20, 2013, making 38 million acres available.
“BOEM is committed to promoting the safe development of the nation’s critical offshore oil and gas resources while taking steps to safeguard the marine and coastal communities,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “This sale represents a key component of the President’s comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy strategy and the regionally tailored and responsible approach that we are taking under the Five Year Program.”
The sale will include 3,873 blocks and covering roughly 20.8 million acres, located from 9 to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 ft to more than 10,975 ft. BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 116–200 million bbl of oil and 538–938 Bcf of natural gas.
The most recent sale in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning area, Western Gulf of Mexico Sale 218, took place on December 14, 2011. BOEM awarded 181 leases on tracts covering 1,036,205 acres to the successful high bidders who participated in the sale. The accepted high bids were valued at $324,971,001. The most recent sale in the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning area, Central Gulf of Mexico Sale 216/222, took place on June 20, 2012, where BOEM awarded 442 leases on tracts covering 2,335,646 acres. The accepted high bids were valued at $1,681,578,390.
During tomorrow’s sale, BOEM will open 131 bids submitted by 13 companies on 116 offshore blocks. Following the bid reading, BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau and Gulf of Mexico Regional Director John Rodi will hold a media availability to discuss the sale results.