As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy P. Beaudreau has announced that the bureau 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 unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.
Proposed Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 238, scheduled to take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, in August of 2014, will be the sixth offshore sale under the Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). This sale builds on the first five sales in the current Five Year Program, which have offered more than 60 million acres and netted nearly $2.3 billion for American taxpayers.
“The nation’s economy and our national security depend heavily on adequate and reliable domestic sources of energy and the Gulf of Mexico continues to be a critical component of the Nation’s energy portfolio,” said Tommy P. Beaudreau. “This proposed lease sale underscores our commitment to make millions of acres of Federal waters available for safe and responsible exploration and development.”
Sale 238 will include approximately 3,992 blocks, covering roughly 21.4 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (5 to 3,346 meters). BOEM plans to offer blocks located, or partially located, within the three statute mile U.S. – Mexico Boundary Area subject to the terms of the U.S. – Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement. 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.
“As one of the most productive basins in the world, this lease sale is another important step to promoting responsible domestic energy production through the safe, environmentally sound development of the Nation’s offshore energy resources,” said Beaudreau. “The decision to move forward with this lease sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public input and consideration of the best scientific information available.”
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 in the region.