WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank have announced the award of the first three oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico boundary area subject to the U.S.–Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement.
The three leases were awarded to Exxon Mobil Corp., which submitted bids for the blocks located or partially located within three statute miles of the maritime and continental shelf boundary with Mexico (the US–Mexico Transboundary Area) at Western Planning Area Sale 233 in August 2013. BOEM opened the three sealed bids, totaling $21,333,850, during the Eastern and Central Planning Area Sales held on March 19.
The leases are in the Alaminos Canyon Area, 170 mi (274 km) east of Port Isabel, Texas, and will be subject to the terms of the Agreement when it becomes effective on July 18.
As a result of the Transboundary Agreement, nearly 1.5 million additional acres of the US outer continental shelf will now be made more accessible for exploration and production activities. BOEM estimates that this area contains as much as 172 MMboe and 304 bcf (8.6 bcm) of natural gas.
“With the Agreement now in full force, we can make additional oil and gas along the resource-rich boundary between the US and Mexico available, and we have a clear process by which both governments can provide the necessary oversight to ensure that exploration and development activities are conducted safely and responsibly,” Secretary Jewell said. “These leases represent a significant step forward in US–Mexico cooperation in energy production and pave the way for future energy and environmental collaboration.”
On July 17, blocks within the 1.4 nautical mile buffer area north of the continental shelf boundary in the Western Gap, previously deferred and containing 158,584 acres, will become available for development. Beginning with Western Planning Area Sale 238, scheduled for August, they may be available for leasing.