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73-million acre oil and natural gas lease sale for Gulf of Mexico proposed

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Staff Writer | March 7, 2017
Ryan Zinke
Oil exploration   Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke:

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the Department will offer 73 million acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for oil and gas exploration and development.

The proposed region-wide lease sale scheduled for August 16, 2017 would include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy independent,” Secretary Zinke said.

“The Gulf is a vital part of that strategy to spur economic opportunities for industry, states, and local communities, to create jobs and home-grown energy and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Proposed Lease Sale 249, scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans, will be the first offshore sale under the new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022 (Five Year Program).

Under this new program, ten region-wide lease sales are scheduled for the Gulf, where the resource potential and industry interest are high, and oil and gas infrastructure is well established.

Two Gulf lease sales will be held each year and include all available blocks in the combined Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas.

The estimated amount of resources projected to be developed as a result of the proposed region-wide lease sale ranges from 0.211 to 1.118 billion barrels of oil and from 0.547 to 4.424 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The sale could potentially result in 1.2 to 4.2 percent of the forecasted cumulative OCS oil and gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the activity (up to 83% of future production) of the proposed lease sale is expected to occur in the Central Planning Area.

Lease Sale 249 will include about 13,725 unleased blocks, located from three to 230 miles offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern planning areas in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,115 feet (three to 3,400 meters).

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.


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