The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer approximately 47 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama for oil and gas exploration and development in a lease sale that will include all available unleased areas in the Central Planning Area.
BOEM said on Wednesday that the proposed Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 247, scheduled to take place in New Orleans in March of 2017, will be the twelfth offshore sale under the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017.
This sale builds on eleven sales, already held under the current program, that have netted more than $3 billion, and supports the goal of continuing to increase domestic oil and gas production.
BOEM Director, Abigail Ross Hopper, said: “As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico remains a critical component of the Administration’s domestic energy strategy to create jobs, foster economic opportunities, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.
“The exploration and development of the Gulf of Mexico’s vital energy resources will continue to help power our nation and drive our economy.”
The Bureau added that Sale 247 will include approximately 8,878 blocks, located from three to about 230 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 3,000 to 3,400 meters.
Hopper said: “The decision to move forward with plans for this lease sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment and consideration of the best scientific information available.
“This proposed sale is another important step to promote responsible domestic energy production through the safe, environmentally sound exploration and development of the Nation’s offshore energy resources.”
The agency noted that the proposed terms of this sale include conditions to ensure the protection of the human, marine, and coastal environments. These 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, the bureau added.
BOEM said that the proposed economic terms include a range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a ‘fair return to taxpayers’.