WASHINGTON, D.C. – The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer 23.8 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development. Describing it in a statement as a “milestone lease sale,” it will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.
BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said: “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. This lease sale follows extensive environmental analysis and stakeholder engagement.”
The Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 248, to be held on Aug. 24, in New Orleans, will be the first federal offshore oil and gas auction broadcast live on the Internet, the bureau said. The live bid event will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and will be available through streaming on the BOEM’s website.
“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 current administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five-Year Program). This sale builds on the first 10 sales in the current Five-Year Program, which offered more than 60 million acres and netted nearly $3 billion for American taxpayers, bureau said.
The auction will include approximately 4,399 blocks, located from 9 to 250 nautical miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 ft (5 to 3,340 m) 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 MMbbl of oil and 538 to 938 bcf 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 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, the bureau said.