Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper announced on Friday that the bureau would offer 40 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama for oil and gas exploration and development in sales that will include all available unleased areas in the Central and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas.
Proposed Gulf of Mexico Central Planning Area Lease Sale 241 and Eastern Planning Area Lease Sale 226, scheduled to take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, in March of 2016, will be the ninth and tenth offshore sales under the Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five-Year Program). These sales build on the first eight sales in the current Five-Year Program, which have offered more than 60 million acres and netted nearly $3 billion for American taxpayers.
“As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico is a cornerstone of our domestic energy portfolio, offering vital oil and gas resources that further economic growth and continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Abigail Ross Hopper.
“This lease sale is another important step in promoting responsible domestic energy production through the safe, environmentally sound development of the Nation’s offshore energy resources, while ensuring a fair return to the American people.”
Proposed CPA Sale 241 will include approximately 7,919 blocks, covering 42.1 million acres, located from three to 230 nautical miles offshore, in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,000 feet (three to 3,400 meters). BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 460 to 894 million barrels of oil and 1.9 to 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Proposed EPA Sale 226 will offer approximately 175 blocks, covering 595,475 acres. 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 bordered by the Central Planning Area boundary on the West and the Military Mission Line (86º 41’W) on the East. It is south of eastern Alabama and western Florida; the nearest point of land is 125 miles northwest in Louisiana. BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 71 million barrels of oil and 162 billion cubic feet of natural gas.