BOEM to Publish Call for Information and Nominations for Proposed Gulf of Mexico Lease Sales

BOEM to Prepare Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Lease Sales

12-20-2018 NEW ORLEANS

Contacts: John Filostrat
(504) 731-7815

BOEM today announced it will publish in the Federal Register a Call for Information and Nominations (Call) covering proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico Western, Central, and Eastern Planning Areas, except for those areas currently subject to the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 moratorium.

The proposed sales are included in the Draft Proposed Program under the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (2019-2024 National OCS Program).  Development of the 2019-2024 National OCS Program is still underway -- the issuance of this Call does not mean that a final decision has been made to hold the sale under the 2019-2024 National OCS Program. Oil and gas lease sales in the Western, Central, and Eastern Planning Areas are currently scheduled as part of the 2017-2022 National OCS Program.

The publication of the Gulf of Mexico Call will initiate a 30-day comment period. During this time, BOEM seeks comments from industry on interest in the areas proposed for leasing, including nominations or indications of interest in specific lease blocks within the area. BOEM also seeks comments from any interested party relating to particular geological, environmental, biological, archaeological and socioeconomic conditions, use conflicts, or other information that could affect the potential leasing and development of particular areas.

Information submitted in response to the Gulf of Mexico Call will be used to help determine what specific blocks within a program area may be offered for leasing, prioritize areas with potential for oil and gas development, develop potential lease terms and conditions, identify potential use conflicts and potential mitigation measures, and assist in BOEM’s planning and environmental review process.

“There is no doubt about the great oil and gas potential in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Mike Celata, director of BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico OCS Region. “This call for information will not only help us further identify the areas where oil and gas can be safely and responsibly developed, but also help us identify environmentally sensitive areas that could be excluded from development or otherwise protected.”

Concurrent with this call, BOEM is also publishing in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). BOEM will not make a decision to approve, disapprove, or require modifications to the proposed lease sales until after the completion of the Supplemental EIS. The Call and the NOI will appear in the Federal Register’s Reading Room on Dec. 21, 2018, and will publish in the Federal Register on Dec. 26, 2018.

Next Steps

BOEM will analyze the comments from the Call and conduct the Area Identification. In this step, based on the information and nominations submitted in response to this Call, BOEM will develop a recommendation as to the area to be considered in environmental and other analyses. Upon approval by the Secretary, BOEM will then publish in the Federal Register the proposed area for leasing.

Following the NOI, BOEM will begin to prepare a draft Supplemental EIS that will analyze the environmental impacts of the proposed action. Upon its publication in the Federal Register, BOEM will solicit comments from all interested parties on the draft to inform the preparation of the final Supplemental EIS.

BOEM will carefully consider the analyses contained in the final Supplemental EIS before finalizing the area for leasing.

For more information on the Call, including instructions on how to comment, please go to: https://www.boem.gov/Call-for-2019-2024-GOMR-Multisale/.  For more information on the NOI, please go to:  https://www.boem.gov/Notice-of-Intent-2020-GOM-SEIS/.

– BOEM –