Obama Administration offering more than 20M acres offshore Texas for oil and natural gas exploration and development
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau released the final details for an oil and gas lease sale that will offer more than 20 million acres offshore and will make available all unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. (Earlier post.)
Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 229, which will be held on 28 November 2012, in New Orleans, will build 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.
This will be the first offshore sale 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, which together include more than 75% of the US’ 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 20 March 2013, making 38 million acres available.
The sale will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area—encompassing 3,873 blocks and covering roughly 20.8 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (five to 3,346 meters). BOEM estimates the proposed lease 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 most recent sale in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning area, Western Gulf of Mexico Sale 218, took place on 14 December 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.