The U.S. will offer 23.8 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development in a milestone lease sale that will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.
“The Gulf of Mexico continues to be one of the most productive basins in the world and is an important part of our Nation’s domestic energy portfolio,” said Abigail Hopper, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director.
She said that the sale follows extensive environmental analysis and stakeholder engagement.
First time online
The Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 248, to be held on August 24, 2016, in New Orleans, Louisiana, will be the first federal offshore oil and gas auction broadcast live on the internet, delivering pertinent bid information immediately to a much broader national and international audience.
Through this approach, BOEM says it aims to promote greater government efficiency and transparency, eliminating the need for the public to physically attend the bid reading at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The live stream broadcast will begin at 9 a.m. CDT via the BOEM website at www.boem.gov.
Targeting wider audience
“Making government data immediately available is a valuable resource for taxpayers, both in terms of dollars and cents but also in efficiency,” said Hopper. “Through the use of technology, we can deliver our lease sale information in a much more effective and accessible way to a much wider audience.”
Sale 248 will be the eleventh offshore sale in the Gulf of Mexico and the final sale for the Western Planning Area, under the Obama Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). This sale builds on the first ten sales in the current Five Year Program, which offered more than 60 million acres and netted nearly $3 billion for American taxpayers.
The auction will include approximately 4,399 blocks, 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). As a result of offering this area for lease, BOEM estimates a range of economically recoverable hydrocarbons to be discovered and produced of 116 to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
Leases issued from this sale will also be the first for which BOEM will accept requests for extended initial periods, and confirm whether the lessee has earned such extension, a duty previously performed by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
The decision to hold this sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment and consideration of the best scientific information available. 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.