The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper yesterday said that the bureau would offer approximately 21.9 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.
“As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico is critical to the Nation’s domestic energy portfolio,” said Hopper. “This lease sale underscores our commitment to make millions of acres of Federal waters available for safe and responsible exploration and development.”
Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 246, to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 19, 2015, will be the eighth 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 seven sales in the current Five Year Program, which offered more than 60 million acres and netted nearly $2.9 billion for American taxpayers.
Sale 246 will include approximately 4,083 blocks, covering roughly 21.9 million acres, located from nine to 250 nautical miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (5 to 3,340 meters).
“The Gulf of Mexico is an important part of the Administration’s energy strategy,” said Hopper. “The region holds vital energy resources that can continue to generate jobs and spur economic opportunities for Gulf producing states, as well as further reduce the Nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”
The decision to hold this sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment and consideration of the best scientific information available, the BOEM said. The terms of the sale 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.