BOEM’s Lease Sale 254 to offer 78 million acres for Gulf of Mexico exploration

The US Department of the Interior said that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has proposed to offer nearly 78 million acres for a region-wide lease sale through the Lease Sale 254 program, scheduled for March 2020.

Lease Sale 254 will include all available unleased areas in the US territorial waters of the Gulf of Mexico that are not subject to the congressional moratorium. The program will be the sixth offshore sale in the US held sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Lease Sale 254 will have nearly 14,585 unleased blocks, located from 3-231 miles offshore, in the Western, Central and Eastern planning areas of the US Gulf of Mexico. The offered blocks are contained in water depths of 3-3,400 meters.

The blocks which are not included in the sale are those which are subject to the congressional moratorium under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, blocks near to or beyond the US Exclusive Economic Zone in the area called the northern portion of the Eastern Gap, and whole blocks and partial blocks located within the current boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

BOEM offers 78 million acres for oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico under Lease Sale 254

BOEM offers 78 million acres for oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico under Lease Sale 254. Photo courtesy of Chad Teer from Coquitlam, Canada/

Casey Hammond – Acting Assistant Secretary said: “Offshore energy development is about furthering America’s energy security, ensuring fair market value to the taxpayers, and producing domestic energy in an environmentally responsible manner.

“We all benefit from a strong offshore energy program, which provides thousands of well-paying jobs, as well as affordable and reliable energy Americans need to heat homes, fuel our cars, and power our economy.”

According to the Department of the Interior, the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), which spans nearly 160 million acres, holds an estimated 48 billion bbl of undiscovered technically recoverable oil to go along with 141 tcf of undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas.

Dr. Walter Cruickshank – Acting Director of BOEM said: “BOEM’s mission is to oversee leasing of OCS energy and mineral resources in an environmentally and economically responsible way. Leases resulting from this proposed sale will 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.”

The fiscal terms for the proposed Lease Sale 254 include a royalty rate of 12.5% for leases in less than 200 meters of water depth and an 18.75% royalty rate for all other leases issued in accordance with the sale.

The proceeds from the OCS leases will go towards the US Treasury, certain Gulf Coast states, the Historic Preservation Fund, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, said the Department of the Interior.

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