BOEM announces 21-million-acre Western Gulf lease sale


BOEM announces 21-million-acre Western Gulf lease sale

WASHINGTON -- Government officials announced today that the U.S. Department of the Interior will offer more than 21 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development in a lease sale that will include all available un-leased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau made the announcement regarding proposed Lease Sale 233.

The proposed sale is scheduled to take place in New Orleans in August, and will be the third offshore auction under the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-17 (Five Year Program). The sale builds on the first two auctions in the current Five Year Program – a 39-million-acre sale held in March, which attracted more than $1.2 billion in high bids and a 20-million-acre sale held last November that netted nearly $134 million. 

Lease Sale 233 will include 3,953 blocks, covering about 21.1 million acres, located from nine to 250 mi offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 ft. BOEM estimates the proposed sale could result in the production of 116 to 200 million barrels of oil, and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The proposed terms of this sale include conditions to ensure both orderly resource development and protection of the human, marine and coastal environments. These include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development and other uses in the region.

BOEM’s proposed economic terms include the same range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers as used in previous sales, with one exception. The provision for deep gas royalty relief under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) will sunset on May 3, 2013, and, therefore, will not be offered.  Ultra-deep gas royalty relief required under EPAct will still be available.

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