The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking information and nominations from all interested parties regarding proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Western, Central and Eastern Planning Areas (WPA, CPA, EPA) for inclusion in the Draft Proposed Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022 (Five Year Program).
BOEM said on Thursday it would analyze information received in response to this Call for Information and Nominations (Call), which will primarily identify and evaluate areas with potential for oil and gas development, as well as determine possible environmental effects and potential conflicts in the Call area. This is in addition to the information collected through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process.
Comments will be used to develop lease terms and conditions to ensure safe offshore operations, BOEM said, adding that comments will also be used to assess potential conflicts between offshore oil and gas exploration and development operations and state coastal management programs, and to develop proposed actions and alternatives in the NEPA review process.
“This early planning and consultation step, in addition to the NEPA-related reviews we are conducting, will ensure that all interests and concerns are communicated to us and are appropriately considered in decisions regarding the leasing process,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “All area nominations, as well as any information submitted, will be fully analyzed and considered as we prepare for the next Five Year Program.”
Ten OCS region-wide GOM lease sales are specifically covered by this Call: five tentatively scheduled in March of each year and five tentatively scheduled in August of each year. These sales would include all unleased acreage in the GOM not currently subject to Congressional moratorium. Concurrent with this Call, BOEM is preparing a multi-sale Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) covering the same proposed sales.