The US Department of the Interior will offer 73 million acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for oil and gas exploration and development in Lease Sale 249, scheduled for Aug. 16.
The proposed region-wide lease sale would include all available unleased areas in the western, central, and eastern planning areas of the Gulf of Mexico, encompassing about 13,725 unleased blocks located 3-230 miles offshore in 9-11,115 ft of water.
Proposed Lease Sale 249 will be the first offshore sale under the new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. Under the new 5-year program, 10 region-wide lease sales are scheduled for the gulf. Two gulf lease sales will be held each year and include all available blocks in the combined western, central, and eastern gulf planning areas.
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates that the US OCS contains about 90 billion bbl of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 327 tcf of undiscovered technically recoverable gas. The gulf OCS, covering about 160 million acres, has technically recoverable resources of 48.46 billion bbl of oil and 141.76 tcf of gas.
BOEM says production from all OCS leases provided 550 million bbl of oil and 1.25 tcf of natural gas in fiscal-year 2016, accounting for 72% of the oil and 27% of the natural gas produced on federal lands.
In the near term, central planning area Lease Sale 247 is scheduled for Mar. 22. The final gulf lease sale in the 2012-2017 5-Year program offers more than 48 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama (OGJ Online, Dec. 22, 2016).
The final sale overall in that program is slated to be Lease Sale 244, which would offer 1.09 million acres in Cook Inlet off Alaska’s south-central coast during a June auction (OGJ Online, Feb. 27, 2017). However, Cook Inlet lease sales in the recent past have been canceled by BOEM due to a lack of industry interest.
The 2012-2017 program has offered about 73 million acres, netted more than $3 billion in high bids, and awarded more than 2,000 leases.
HOUSTON, Mar. 6