Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper said late last week that approximately 44 million acres for oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico will be offered in two lease sales next month.
Hopper said the president's decision supports energy-development possibilities in the Gulf that could lead to simulating the economy by providing jobs and relying on local resources.
The two leases will be held under the five-year terms of the administration's Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, which started in 2012. Within this program, areas that are most likely to yield high amounts of oil and gas are put up for lease. These two new leases will be the ninth and 10th leases on top of the already 60 million acres purchased for more than $3 billion combined through the eight other leases since 2012. The two leases, Central Planning Area Lease Sale 241 and Easter Planning Area Lease Sale 226, will both be considered on March 23 in New Orleans.
Within Sale 241, 8,349 open blocks from over 44.3 million acres will be open for lease. The location is roughly three to 230 nautical miles offshore Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, with water-depth possibilities between nine and 11,115 feet deep. Sale 226 contains 162 blocks that are either unleased or partially unleased from within 595,475 acres. Blocks are roughly 125 statute miles offshore of Alabama, Florida and Louisiana, with the water ranging between 2,657 feet to 10,213 feet deep.
Lease considerations were only procured after heavy environmental research and public opinion, with restrictions in place to protect particular marine life and to allow peaceful development of the oil and gas locations within the region.
“These Gulf of Mexico lease sales reflect this administration's commitment to facilitate the orderly development of offshore energy resources while protecting the human, marine and coastal environments, and ensuring a fair return to American taxpayers,” Hopper said.
Other locations in the eastern Gulf of Mexico within the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area (EPA) cannot be considered for leasing within the current five-year program, as they are protected until 2022 by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.
Information about the two leases can be found on the Federal Register and at www.boem.gov/Sale-241 and www.boem.gov/Sale226. Information can also be requested from the Gulf of Mexico Region's Public Information Office by calling 800-200-GULF (4853).