Central Gulf sale attracts $274.8 million in high bids

MARCH 22, 2017 — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced that Lease Sale 247 for oil and gas parcels in the Gulf of Mexico attracted $274,797,434 in high bids for 163 tracts covering 913,542 acres in the Central Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. A total of 28 offshore energy companies submitted 189 bids. The sum of all bids received totaled $315,303,884.t

Secretary Zinke said the "strong sale reflects continued industry optimism and interest in the Gulf's Outer Continental Shelf."

Putting the sale in perspective, however, today's $274.8 million in high bids is better than last year's sale when, 26 companies made $156 million in high bids on 128 tracts in the Central Gulf. But today's high bids totaled only about 51 percent of the $539.8 million in high bids offered by 35 companies for 169 blocks in March 2015.

Today's lease sale, which included all unleased and non-protected areas in the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, is the final to be held in the Gulf of Mexico under the current Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). The Five Year Program makes available all offshore areas with the highest resource potential. The first eleven sales in the Five Year Program offered nearly 73 million acres for development and garnered more than $3 billion in bid revenues.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) offered 9,118 unleased blocks, covering 48 million acres, located from three to 230 nautical miles offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,115 feet (three to 3,400 meters).

BOEM estimates the lease 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. The sale terms 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. BOEM's economic terms include a range of incentives intended to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers.

Following today's sales, each bid will go through a 90-day evaluation process. Lease awards will be posted to BOEM's website as they are completed.

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