Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Balash Announces Region-Wide Oil and Gas Lease Sale for Gulf of Mexico
Proposed Notice of Sale Outlines All Available Areas in Federal Waters
Contacts: Michael Plummer
In support of President Donald J. Trump’s America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, Department of Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank today announced that the Department will offer 77.3 million acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for oil and gas exploration and development. The region-wide lease sale scheduled for Aug. 15, 2018, would include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Lease Sale 251, scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans, will be the third offshore sale under the National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. Under this program, 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 lease sales will be held each year and include all available blocks in the combined Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas.
“Responsibly developing our energy resources in the OCS is important to our economy and energy security,” said Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Balash. “Striking the right balance between protecting the environment, powering America and achieving American energy dominance is our ultimate goal.”
Lease Sale 251 will include approximately 14,474 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 that are 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 boundary of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
The Gulf of Mexico OCS, covering about 160 million acres, contains about 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas.
“BOEM has a vital role in advancing responsible offshore energy development. Protecting the environment while providing for our energy needs is essential to our mission,” said Acting Director Cruickshank. “This lease sale is a just one piece of the Administration’s comprehensive effort to secure our Nation’s energy future and benefit the economy.”
Additionally, BOEM has included appropriate 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% royalty rate for leases in less than 200 meters of water depth, and a royalty rate of 18.75% 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.
All terms and conditions for Gulf of Mexico Region-wide Sale 251 are detailed in the Proposed Notice of Sale (PNOS) information package, which will be available on Monday, April 2, 2018 at: http://www.boem.gov/Sale-251/. Copies of the PNOS maps can 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 PNOS will be available for inspection in the Federal Register at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html on Monday, April 2, 2018 and will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.