As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank today announced that the bureau will offer more than 21 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development in a lease sale that will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.
“As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico is a critical component of the Nation’s domestic energy portfolio,” said Cruickshank. “This lease sale underscores our commitment to make millions of acres of Federal waters available for safe and responsible exploration and development. The decision to move forward with this lease sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public input and consideration of the best scientific information available.”
Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 238, to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 20, 2014, will be the sixth offshore sale under the Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). This sale builds on the first five sales in the current Five Year Program, which have offered more than 60 million acres and netted nearly $2.3 billion for American taxpayers.
Sale 238 will include approximately 4,026 blocks, covering roughly 21.6 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (5 to 3,346 meters).
BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 116 to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
BOEM will offer blocks located, or partially located, within the three statute mile U.S. - Mexico Boundary Area, as well as blocks within the former Western Gap that lie within 1.4 nautical miles north of the Continental Shelf Boundary (1.4-nautical mile buffer) between the United States and Mexico, subject to the terms of the U.S. - Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement.
The terms of this sale include conditions to ensure both orderly resource development and protection of the human, marine and coastal environments. These 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.
BOEM’s economic terms include the same range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers as used in previous sales.
The U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, is a significant contributor of oil and gas to the Nation’s energy supply. As of July 2014, BOEM administered more than 6,100 active oil and gas leases covering nearly 34 million OCS acres. Production from these leases generates billions of dollars in revenue for the Federal Treasury and State governments while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. In 2013, oil and gas leases on the OCS accounted for approximately 18 percent of domestic oil production and 5 percent of domestic natural gas production. The offshore areas of the United States also are estimated to contain significant quantities of resources in yet-to-be-discovered fields.
All terms and conditions for Western Sale 238 are detailed in the Final Notice of Sale information package, which is available at: http://www.boem.gov/Sale-238/. CD’s and copies of the maps may be requested from the Gulf of Mexico Region’s Public Information Unit at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70123, or at 800-200-GULF (4853).
The Notice of Availability of the Final Notice of Sale is available today for inspection in the Federal Register at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) promotes economic development, energy independence, and environmental protection through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy resources.