U.S. moves forward with Western Gulf of Mexico lease sale
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper on Tuesday announced the bureau will offer approximately 23.5 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development in a lease sale that will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.
Proposed Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 248, scheduled to take place in New Orleans in August of 2016, will be the eleventh offshore sale under the Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). This sale builds on ten sales, already held in the current Five Year Program, that have netted more than $ 3 billion, and supports the Administration’s goal of continuing to increase domestic oil and gas production, the agency said on Tuesday.
“The Gulf of Mexico remains a critical component of the Administration’s domestic energy strategy to create jobs, foster economic opportunities, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” Hopper said. “The exploration and development of the Gulf of Mexico’s vital energy resources will continue to help power our nation and drive our economy.”
Sale 248 will include approximately 4,343 blocks, covering roughly 23.5 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (5 to 3,346 meters).
“The decision to move forward with plans for this lease sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment and consideration of the best scientific information available,” said Hopper. “This proposed sale is another important step to promote responsible domestic energy production through the safe, environmentally sound exploration and development of the Nation’s offshore energy resources.”
According to BOEM, the proposed 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.