U.S. gov’t preparing for latest Gulf of Mexico lease sale
U.S. government agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), will hold an oil and gas lease sale for the Gulf of Mexico on 17 November 2021, the eighth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 leasing programme.
Announcing the sale on Thursday, the agency stated that the Biden Harris Administration is continuing its comprehensive review of the deficiencies associated with its offshore and onshore oil and gas leasing programmes.
Lease Sale 257, scheduled to be live-streamed from New Orleans, will be the eighth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
The U.S. Department of Interior (DoI) determined to move forward with the process for Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 257 in August 2021.
Namely, the United States appealed the preliminary injunction entered by the district court in Louisiana v. Biden, which enjoined the Department of the Interior from implementing the pause in new federal oil and gas leasing. While the government’s appeal is pending, it was decided that the federal onshore and offshore oil and gas leasing programme would continue as required by the district court.
This lease sale will include approximately 15,135 unleased blocks located from 3 to 231 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico with water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 feet (3 to 3,400 meters).
According to BOEM, among the blocks excluded from the lease sale are the blocks subject to the congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 and blocks adjacent to or beyond the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap.
Blocks excluded from the sale also include whole blocks and partial blocks within the boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary as of the July 2008 Memorandum on Withdrawal of Certain Areas of U.S. OCS from Leasing Disposition.
The Gulf of Mexico OCS, covering about 160 million acres, is estimated to contain about 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas.
Fiscal terms include a 12.5 per cent royalty rate for leases in less than 200 meters of water depth and a royalty rate of 18.75 per cent for all other leases issued pursuant to the sale.