BOEM releases details of Western Gulf lease sale

JULY 23, 2012 —The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released details of the first offshore sale under the Administration's new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program)

Proposed Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 229, scheduled to take place in New Orleans on November 28, 2012, will include approximately 3,800 blocks, covering roughly 20.5 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (5 to 3,346 meters).

BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 116 to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

"This lease sale will make available millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico, where there are vast untapped oil and gas resources and industry is working hard to expand oil and gas exploration and development," said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. "This sale is part of the regionally tailored approach that we are taking under the Five Year Program, which is central to the balanced, all-of-the-above strategy we need to meet the nation's energy needs."

The decision to move forward with plans for this lease sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment, and consideration of the best scientific information available. Earlier this month, BOEM completed a Final Environmental Impact Statement with analysis to support decision-making for this and other Western and Central Gulf of Mexico lease sales scheduled as part of the next Five Year Program.

The proposed terms for the lease sale include a series of measures to protect the environment, including stipulations requiring that operators protect biologically sensitive features. The stipulations for marine mammals and sea turtles will require trained observers to ensure compliance and restrict operations when conditions warrant. The terms also include a range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers – including an increased minimum bid for deepwater tracts, escalating rental rates, and tiered durational terms with relatively short base periods followed by additional time under the same lease if the operator drills a well during the initial period.

The terms and conditions outlined for November's Sale 229 in the Proposed Notice of Sale are not final. Different terms and conditions may be employed in the Final Notice of Sale which will be published at least 30 days before the sale. All terms and conditions for Western Sale 229 are detailed in the Proposed Notice of Sale information package, which is available at: http://www.boem.gov/Sale-229/. Copies can also be requested from the Gulf of Mexico Region's Public Information Unit at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70123, or at 800-200-GULF (4853).

The Notice of Availability of the Proposed Notice of Sale is available today for inspection in the Federal Register at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html.