API: 87% of U.S. waters kept off-limits for exploration

The sale of offshore oil and natural gas leases in the western Gulf of Mexico highlights the benefit of allowing development in the 87 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf the federal government has placed off-limits, said American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Upstream Group Director Erik Milito.

“Today’s lease sale is a reminder that opening new areas to offshore energy exploration and production could create nearly half a million American jobs and raise tens of billions of dollars to help fund the government,” said Milito. “The western and central sections of the Gulf of Mexico remain important areas for domestic oil and natural gas production, but they have been continually explored for decades while the vast majority of U.S. waters are kept off-limits.

“Tremendous potential exists for job creation and energy development in the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. We should seize the opportunity to further America’s energy renaissance by exploring and producing in new areas offshore.”

BOEM’s Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 238 this week attracted $109,951,644 million in high bids for 81 tracts covering 433,823 acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf offshore Texas. A total of 14 offshore energy companies submitted 93 bids.

The sale offered all unleased areas (excluding those located in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary) in the Western Gulf of Mexico planning area, including 4,026 tracts from nine to more than 250 miles off the coast, in depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (five to 3,346 meters). BOEM estimates the 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.

 

August 22, 2014

 

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