Secretary Jewell to open Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will today, March 18, in New Orleans, attend and open bids at an oil and gas lease sale offering 41.2 million acres for exploration and development in the Central Planning Area offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Secretary Jewell will hold a news media availability with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper. The results of the sale will be announced later today during a media teleconference with Director Hopper and Regional Director John Rodi.

BOEM estimates the sale could result in the production of 460 to 890 million barrels of oil, and 1.9 trillion cubic feet to 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. When bidding closed yesterday, 35 companies had submitted 195 bids on 169 blocks offered in the sale. A map of the location of tracts receiving bids will be available tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. CDT on the BOEM website.

Lease Sale 235 is the seventh offshore sale under the Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). The previous six sales offered 60 million acres and garnered $2.4 billion in high bids and awarded 877 leases. The Five Year Program makes available all offshore areas with the highest resource potential and includes 75 percent of the nation’s undiscovered, technically recoverable offshore oil and gas resources.

BOEM oversees 160 million acres on the Outer Continental Shelf off Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. About 28.5 million acres (5,279 blocks) are leased for oil and gas development; and 4.6 million of those acres (924 blocks) are producing oil and natural gas.