Today’s U.S. oil and gas Lease Sale 248 garnered $18,067,020 in high bids for 24 tracts covering 138,240 acres in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, announced Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper. A total of three offshore energy companies participated in 24 bids. The sum of all bids received totaled $18,067,020.
In this sale, part of the Obama Administration's continued commitment to safe and responsible domestic energy production, BOEM offered 23.8 million acres in federal waters offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development.
“The Gulf of Mexico continues to be one of the most productive basins in the world and is an important part of our Nation’s domestic energy portfolio
,” Hopper said. “Though this sale reflects today’s market conditions and industry’s current development strategy, the bidding confirms that there is continued interest in the deepwater areas of the Gulf.”
BOEM oversees 160 million acres on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 20 million acres (3,762 blocks) are leased for oil and gas development; and 4.3 million of those acres (883 blocks) are producing oil and natural gas.
Today’s sale in New Orleans was the first federal offshore oil and gas auction broadcast live on the internet, in an approach that BOAM says aims to promote greater government efficiency and transparency.
Today’s auction is the 11th Gulf of Mexico offshore
sale and the final one for the Western Planning Area, under the Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). This sale builds on the first ten sales in the current Five Year Program, which offered more than 60 million acres and netted nearly $3 billion for American taxpayers.
Sale 248 included approximately 4,399 blocks, located from nine to 250 nautical miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (5 to 3,340 meters). As a result of offering this area for lease, BOEM estimates a range of economically recoverable hydrocarbons to be discovered and produced of 116 to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The decision to hold this sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment and consideration of the best scientific information available. The terms of the sale 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 lease terms also include a range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers.
Following today’s sale, each bid will go through an extensive 90-day evaluation process to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.