The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has proposed a Gulf of Mexico lease sale for August 2019, Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash and BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank announced Tuesday.
The 78 million acres offered would include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico -- approximately 14,699 blocks in total, located from three to 231 miles offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern planning areas in water depths ranging from three meters to more than 3,400 meters.
Blocks subject to the congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks adjacent to or beyond the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap; and whole blocks and partial blocks within the current boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary would be excluded.
The Gulf of Mexico outer continental shelf (OCS), covering about 160 million acres, is estimated to contain about 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas.
“Offshore oil and gas resources are essential to our nation’s energy portfolio and America’s energy security,” said Assistant Secretary Balash. “We all benefit from a strong offshore energy program, which provides thousands of well-paid jobs, and affordable, reliable energy that Americans need to heat homes, fuel our cars, and power our economy."
Lease Sale 253, scheduled to be held in New Orleans, will be the fifth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Under this 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 of Mexico Planning Areas. Lease Sale 252 will be held at the end of March.
“Domestic offshore oil and gas development is critical for America’s economy and energy portfolio,” said Acting BOEM Director Dr. Walter Cruickshank. “BOEM’s staff works hard to help ensure future development is done in a manner that addresses our nation's energy security, while protecting marine life and the environment in which they live."