The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will conduct two Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sales on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Lease Sale 241 in the Central Planning Area and Lease Sale 226 in the Eastern Planning Area will make 45 million acres available for exploration and development. When bidding closed yesterday, 26 companies had submitted 148 bids on 128 blocks for Central Sale 241. No bids were submitted for Eastern Sale 226.
Bid reading begins at 9:00 AM CDT. The Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider and BOEM Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Michael Celata will read the bids and announce the results of the sale, BOEM said in a statement on Tuesday.
These sales are the ninth and tenth offshore auctions under the Obama Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). The first eight auctions in the Five Year Program offered more than 60 million acres for development and garnered more than $3 billion in bid revenues, BOEM disclosed.
Sale 241 encompasses 8,349 unleased blocks, covering 44.3 million acres, located from three to 230 nautical miles offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,115 feet (3 to 3,400 meters).
Sale 226 is the second of two lease sales proposed for the Eastern Planning Area under the current Five Year Program. The sale encompasses 162 whole or partial unleased blocks covering 595,475 acres in the Eastern Planning Area. The blocks are located at least 125 statute miles offshore in water depths ranging from 2,657 feet to 10,213 feet (810 to 3,113 meters). The area is south of eastern Alabama and western Florida; the nearest point of land is 125 miles northwest in Louisiana.
Most of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area (EPA) cannot be offered for lease until 2022 as part of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.