The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has proposed to offer 78 million acres for a Gulf of Mexico lease sale scheduled for August 2019.
The following areas are excluded from the lease sale: blocks subject to the congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks adjacent to or beyond the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap; and whole blocks and partial blocks within the current boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Apart from these areas, the sale would include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
“Offshore oil and gas resources are essential to our nation’s energy portfolio and America’s energy security,” said Assistant Secretary Balash. “We all benefit from a strong offshore energy program, which provides thousands of well-paid jobs, and affordable, reliable energy that Americans need to heat homes, fuel our cars, and power our economy.”
Lease Sale 253, scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans, will be the fifth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
Under this program, 10 region-wide lease sales are scheduled for the Gulf. Two Gulf lease sales will be held each year and include all available blocks in the combined Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas.
Lease Sale 253 will include approximately 14,699 unleased blocks, located from three to 231 miles offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern planning areas in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,115 feet (three to 3,400 meters).
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Gulf of Mexico OCS, covering about 160 million acres, is estimated to contain about 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas.
While the fifth lease sale is proposed to be held in August, BOEM’s fourth lease sale under the 2017-2022 program – Lease Sale 252 – is one week away, scheduled to be held on March 20.
This lease sale too will include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.