The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced final details for the Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 233. The sale will take place on August 28 and will cover roughly 20.7 million acres million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development.
The bureau estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 116 to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The sale offers 3,864 blocks, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (five to 3,346 meters).
The sale, which will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, includes all available unleased or non-protected areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. It will be the third sale under the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, the second of five Western Gulf of Mexico lease sales that will be held under the program.
The decision to move forward with plans for this auction follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment, and consideration of the best scientific information available. BOEM published a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to update the environmental analysis completed for proposed Lease Sale 233 and other Western and Central Gulf of Mexico lease sales scheduled under the current Five Year Program. The assessments can be found on the web at boem.gov/nepaprocess.
The terms of this sale include conditions to ensure both orderly resource development and protection of the human, marine and coastal environments. These include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development in the region.
The final terms also continue to include the same range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers as used in previous Western Gulf sales, with one exception. The provision for deep gas royalty relief under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) sunset on May 3, 2013, therefore; deep gas royalty relief will not be offered. Ultra-deep gas royalty relief required under EPAct will still be available.
Terms and conditions for the sale are detailed in the new streamlined, more user-friendly Final Notice of Sale information package, available at boem.gov/sale-233. The Notice of Availability of the Final Notice of Sale can be viewed today in the Federal Register at federalregister.gov/public-inspection. Copies can also be requested from the Gulf of Mexico Region’s Public Information Office at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70123, or at 800-200-GULF (4853).