The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed its required evaluation to ensure that the public receives fair market value for tracts leased as part of Central Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 227, which was held on March 20, 2013.
After extensive economic analysis, BOEM has awarded 307 leases on tracts covering 1,648,831 acres to the successful high bidders who participated in the sale, which made 7,299 unleased blocks covering about 38.6 million acres available offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The accepted high bids are valued at $1,199,052,037.
The terms of Sale 227 continued a range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers — including an increased minimum bid for deepwater tracts, escalating rental rates and tiered durational terms with relatively short base periods followed by additional time under the same lease if the operator drills a well during the initial period.
BOEM increased its minimum bid requirement in deepwater to $100 per acre, up from $37.50 in Central Gulf of Mexico lease sales prior to 2012. Rigorous historical analysis showed that leases that received high bids of less than $100 per acre have experienced virtually no exploration and development activities.
During the sale, 52 companies submitted 407 bids totaling $1,595,397,446 on 320 tracts. A total of $1,214,675,536 was received in high bids. BOEM rejected thirteen high bids, totaling $15,623,499 after determining that the value of those bids was insufficient to provide the public with fair market value for the tracts.
BOEM will reoffer these tracts as part of the next Central Gulf of Mexico sale, which is currently scheduled for March of 2014.
The highest bid accepted was $81,787,999, submitted by Samson Offshore, LLC and Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC for Walker Ridge, Block 271. The tract is at depths greater than 5,249 feet (1,600 meters) and received two bids.
The sale’s results reflect strong, continuing industry interest in the Gulf of Mexico and President Obama’s commitment to expand oil and natural gas production safely and responsibly – reducing our dependence on foreign oil and supporting American energy jobs.
As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, domestic oil and gas production has grown each year the President has been in office, with domestic oil production currently higher than any time in two decades and natural gas production at its highest level ever. Renewable electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources has doubled and foreign oil imports now account for less than 40 percent of the oil consumed in America – the lowest level since 1988.