The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) has said that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer 77.8 million acres for a region-wide lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico scheduled for August 21, 2019.
The sale will include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the DOI said in a statement on Thursday.
The U.S. Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, said: “The expansion of America’s energy sector has been a major economic driver for the American people in keeping energy prices low. Our work in the Gulf of Mexico to ensure America leads the world in energy production is paramount.”
Lease Sale 253, scheduled to be live-streamed from New Orleans, will be the fifth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Under this program, a total of ten region-wide lease sales are scheduled for the Gulf, where resource potential and industry interest are high, and oil and gas infrastructure is well established. Two Gulf-wide lease sales are scheduled to 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 14,585 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 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.
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.
Revenues received from OCS leases (including high bids, rental payments and royalty payments) are directed to the U.S. Treasury, certain Gulf Coast states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama), the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Historic Preservation Fund.
“This lease sale is a critical part of BOEM’s multi-faceted effort to secure our nation’s energy future,” said BOEM Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Mike Celata.
BOEM has included fiscal terms that take into account market conditions and ensure taxpayers receive a fair return for use of the OCS. These terms include a 12.5 percent royalty rate for leases in less than 200 meters of water depth, and a royalty rate of 18.75 percent for all other leases issued pursuant to the sale, in recognition of current hydrocarbon price conditions and the marginal nature of remaining Gulf of Mexico shallow water resources.
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