US announces Gulf oil and gas lease sale

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced plans to auction off the rights to the largest oil and gas lease sale ever held in the United States, covering 76,967,935 acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Proposed Lease Sale 250 would be the second offshore sale under the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022.

On October 23, Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the proposed region-wide lease sale, offering an area about the size of New Mexico which includes all available unleased areas on the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf. According to his announcement, the auction will be held on March 2018.  It will cover 14,375 unleased blocks, located from 3 to 230 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 feet. The Trump administration stated that it estimates the amount of resources projected to be developed as a result of the proposed region-wide lease sale ranges from 0.21 to 1.12 billion barrels of oil and from 0.55 to 4.42 trillion cubic feet of gas.

According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf contains about 90 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas; of this, BOEM estimates that the Gulf of Mexico is home to roughly half of these amounts.

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