March 2018 BOEM sale offers 76.9 million acres for lease – oil & gas development in the Gulf of Mexico

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced the nation’s largest ever federal lease sale—almost 77 million acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico–offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The proposed region-wide lease sale, offering an area about the size of New Mexico, is scheduled for March 2018 and includes all available unleased areas on the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf. The DOI said its sale surpasses last year’s region-wide lease sale by one million acres.

2018 to Deliver Largest Oil & Gas Lease Sale in U.S. History

Source: BOEM, Department of Interior

BOEM’s proposed Lease Sale 250, which will be livestreamed from New Orleans, will be the second offshore sale under the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. Lease Sale 249, held in New Orleans last August, received $121 million in high bids.

Size of Lease Sale 250 and resource estimates 

Proposed Lease Sale 250 includes 14,375 unleased blocks, located from 3 to 230 miles offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern planning areas in water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 feet (three to 3,400 meters).  The estimated amount of resources projected to be developed as a result of the proposed region-wide lease sale ranges from 0.21 to 1.12 billion barrels of oil and from 0.55 to 4.42 trillion cubic feet of gas. Most of the activity (up to 83% of future production) from the proposed lease sale is expected to occur in the Central Planning Area.

2018 to Deliver Largest Oil & Gas Lease Sale in U.S. History

Part of map showing BOEM blocks in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf. Source: BOEM

Excluded from the lease sale are blocks subject to the Congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks that are adjacent to or beyond the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap; and whole blocks and partial blocks within the current boundary of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

In total, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates that the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf contains about 90 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas. The Gulf of Mexico OCS, covering about 160 million acres, has technically recoverable resources of over 48 billion barrels of oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of gas.

All terms and conditions for Gulf of Mexico Region-wide Sale 250 are detailed in the Proposed Notice of Sale (PNOS) information package, which is available at: Copies of the PNOS maps can be requested from BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico Region’s Public Information Unit at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70123, or at 800-200-GULF (4853).

The Notice of Availability of the PNOS will be available for inspection in the Federal Register on Thursday, October 26, at:

Revised bid opening procedure

Similar to Region-wide Lease Sale 249 held in August of 2017, the bid opening, at a location in New Orleans to be determined, will not be open to the public. Instead, the bid opening will be available for the public to view in real-time on BOEM’s website at via video live-streaming beginning at 9:00 a.m. on the day of the sale. The use of live-streaming to announce bids is being implemented to provide greater access to a wider national and international audience while ensuring the security of BOEM staff.

BOEM will also post the results on its website after bid opening and reading is completed.

Flower Garden Banks NMS

Proposed Expansion of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) Information to Lessees (ITL): Bidders are advised that on June 10, 2016, NOAA published a Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) analyzing the proposed expansion of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS or Sanctuary) boundaries.

Bidders are advised that certain activities related to oil and gas exploration and development are already prohibited within the recommended FGHNMS expansion, as these areas have been designated ‘‘No Activity Zones’’ by BOEM (See Stipulation 1: Topographic Features). These restrictions are also explained in NTL No. 2009–G39: ‘‘Biologically Sensitive Underwater Features and Areas,’’ for the Central and Western planning areas of the OCS in the Gulf of Mexico.

An extensive list of blocks and partial blocks not offered for leasing are listed in the Notice of Sale. Additionally, Lease Stipulations are available here.

Legal Notice