The U.S. Department of the Interior will in March hold what it says is the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history.
Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said on Friday that the Department would offer 77.3 million acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for oil and gas exploration and development.
The department said that the region-wide lease sale, which is the largest in U.S. history, is scheduled for March 21, 2018, and will include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
In 2017, offshore leases helped the Department raise a billion dollars more in revenue for the year than was made off energy revenues in 2016, the DOI said.
Deputy Secretary Bernhardt said. “A strong offshore energy program supports tens of thousands good paying jobs and provides the affordable and reliable energy we need to heat homes, fuel our cars, and power our economy. We have the strongest safety regulations in the world and today’s technology is making the responsible development of our resources even safer.”
14,776 unleased blocks
Lease Sale 250, scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans, will be the second offshore sale under the National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022.
It will include about 14,776 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).
Excluded from the lease sale are blocks subject to the Congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks that are 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 boundary of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates that the OCS contains about 90 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas. The Gulf of Mexico OCS, covering about 160 million acres, has technically recoverable resources of over 48 billion barrels of oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of gas.