The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced that it will hold an oil and gas lease sale for the Gulf of Mexico on November 17, in compliance with an order from a U.S. District Court.
The announcement was welcomed by National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Erik Milito.
“The advancement of Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 257 is welcome news for the American worker and our national security,” he said. “Continued safe and environmentally responsible Gulf of Mexico energy development can promote many of the top priorities of the Biden Administration. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico supports more than 345,000 jobs, many of which are accessible, high-paying and cannot be easily substituted, and generates vital government revenues for conservation and recreation programs, including ones in economically distressed urban areas. Furthermore, as global energy prices rise, continued Gulf of Mexico leasing can help avert inflationary risks and proactively ensure affordable energy for all walks of life, especially low-income communities.
“Importantly, offshore Federal oil and gas leasing supports climate progress. The U.S. offshore produces among the lowest carbon barrels of the oil producing regions. We provide a low carbon energy alternative to oil produced by foreign, higher emitting producers, like Russia and China. As long as Americans depend upon oil and gas for modern life, our policymakers should always choose safe, low emissions American energy.”
Lease Sale 257, scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans, will be the eighth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Lease Sale 257 will include approximately 15,135 unleased blocks located from three to 231 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico with water depths ranging from 9 feet to more than 11,115 feet (3 meters to 3,400 meters).
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; blocks 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 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.
BOEM will include lease stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts between oil and gas development and other activities and users in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fiscal terms include a 12.5% royalty rate for leases in less than 200 meters of water depth and a royalty rate of 18.75% for all other leases issued pursuant to the sale. All other terms and conditions are detailed in the Final Notice of Sale (FNOS) information package, which is available at www.boem.gov/sale-257. Of note, BOEM will be accepting bids by mail only for Sale 257. Walk-in delivery of bids will not be permitted for this sale. BOEM reserves the right to reject bids received.