The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said Friday that it would hold an oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico in March 2023.
The Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 259 will offer approximately 13,600 blocks on 73.3 million acres in the Western, Central, and Eastern Planning Areas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
Lease Sale 259 was one of three offshore lease sales initially cancelled by the Biden Administration in May 2022. The subsequent Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) mandated that BOEM hold Lease Sale 259 no later than March 31, 2023, and Lease Sale 261 by September 30, 2023.
The opening and reading of the bids will begin at 9 a.m. Central Daylight Time on March 29, 2023.
NOIA: Lease Sales Vital to National Security Interests
Commenting on BOEM's announcement, U.S. National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito said:"The [BOEM] announcement [...] is vital to our national security interests and will contribute important energy supplies amid tight global demand.
"Our national energy needs clearly support a commitment to continued U.S. offshore energy development. U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore energy production is a key component of a national energy strategy that will ensure Americans can continue to have access to fundamental domestic energy that is produced safely, sustainably, and responsibly."
“Operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico adhere to the highest safety and environmental standards. The multitude of companies involved in offshore energy development are working collaboratively to shrink an already small carbon footprint. From electrifying operations to deploying innovative solutions that reduce the size, weight, and part count of offshore infrastructure – thus increasing safety and decreasing emissions – the U.S. Gulf of Mexico hosts a high-tech revolution.
“Oil produced from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has a carbon intensity one-half that of other producing regions. The technologies used in deepwater production – which represents 92 percent of the oil produced in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico – place this region among the lowest carbon intensity oil-producing regions in the world . Policies that restrict domestic offshore development require imports to make up the shortfall, and that supplemental production comes from higher-emitting operations in other countries.”
Offshore wind in GoM
It is worth noting, earlier this week, the U.S. administration proposed the first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, as part of the government's plan to spur offshore wind deployment beyond the East Coast.
The proposed sale is part of the leasing path announced by Secretary Haaland in 2021 to meet the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and follows the Department’s approval of the nation's first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects.
The Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) announced Wednesday includes a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other comprising 96,786 acres.