2017-2022 Proposed Final Program Frequently Asked Questions - Gulf of Mexico

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What is being proposed in the Gulf of Mexico?

The Proposed Final Program schedules ten region-wide sales comprised of the Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico unleased acreage not subject to moratoria or otherwise unavailable. This includes one sale each in 2017 and 2022, and two sales each in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

What is different for the Gulf in this Program from the current Five Year Program?

Similar to the 2012-2017 Program, the Proposed Final Program offers sales in all areas of the Gulf of Mexico not subject to moratorium. The difference is that the current Program separately offers the Central and Western Gulf in two annual sales and periodic sales in the Eastern Gulf not subject to moratorium. The Proposed Final Program for 2017–2022 schedules ten region-wide sales comprised of the Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf unleased acreage not subject to moratoria or otherwise unavailable: one sale each in 2017 and 2022, and two sales each in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. This proposal provides greater flexibility for industry to respond to changing market conditions, including recent Mexican energy reforms.

Why did you change the way sales will happen in the Gulf of Mexico (all areas to be included in each sale) in this Proposed Final Program?

BOEM proposed this change to provide greater flexibility to industry, including more frequent opportunities to bid on rejected, relinquished, or expired Outer Continental Shelf lease blocks, as well as facilitating better planning to explore resources that may straddle the U.S.-Mexico boundary.

Industry comments were generally in favor of trying this new approach, recognizing that changes could be made to the sale configurations if warranted. One company suggested that two annual region-wide sales were too many. The Department could decide to hold only one sale per year under the lease sale process. Also individual sales could be scaled back during the lease sale process to conform more closely to the traditional separate planning area model should circumstances warrant.