SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau have announced that BOEM will offer 38 million acres in the Central Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration and development.
Proposed Lease Sale 227, scheduled to take place in New Orleans on March 20, 2013, will offer all unleased areas in the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and could lead to the production of up to nearly a billion barrels of oil and nearly 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It will be the second sale under the Administration's new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 and the first of five annual Central Gulf lease sales. Announced in June, the Five Year Program makes offshore areas with more than 75% of the technically recoverable oil and gas resources available for exploration and development.
Lease Sale 227 encompasses about 7,250 unleased blocks covering approximately 38 million acres. The blocks are located from three to about 230 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,115 feet (three to 3,400 meters). BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 0.46 billion to 0.89 billion barrels of oil and 1.9 trillion cubic feet to 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
According to the Department of the Interior, U.S. domestic oil production is at an eight-year high, natural gas production at an all-time high, and oil imports now account for less than 50 percent of the oil consumed in America – the lowest level since 1995.