As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper announced last week that Interior will offer 41.2 million acres for oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of Mexico in a March lease sale.
“This lease sale underscores the President’s commitment to create jobs through the safe and responsible exploration and development of the Nation’s domestic energy resources,” said Hopper. “As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico is an important part of the Administration’s energy strategy.”
Lease Sale 235 in the Central Planning Area will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 18, 2015. The sale will be the seventh offshore auction under the Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program), which makes all areas with the highest-known resource potential available for oil and gas leasing in order to further reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. The lease sale builds on the first six sales in the Five Year Program that offered more than 60 million acres for development and garnered $2.4 billion in high bids.
The Gulf of Mexico contributes about 18 percent of U.S. domestic oil and 5 percent of domestic gas production, providing the bulk of the $13.5 billion in mineral revenue disbursed to Federal, state and American Indian accounts from onshore and offshore energy revenue collections in Fiscal Year 2014.
“As a critical component of the Nation’s energy portfolio, the Gulf holds vital energy resources that can continue to generate jobs and spur economic opportunities for Gulf producing states, as well as further reduce the Nation’s dependence on foreign oil,” said Hopper.
Sale 235 encompasses 7,788 unleased blocks, covering about 41.2 million acres, located from three to 230 nautical miles offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, in water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 feet (3 to 3,400 meters). BOEM estimates the proposed sale could result in the production of approximately 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion 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.