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US to offer 77 million acres for oil and gas exploration in Gulf of Mexico

EBR Staff Writer Published 25 October 2017

The US Interior Department (DOI) has announced plans to offer 76.9 million acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida in lease sale for oil and gas exploration and development.

Scheduled to take place in March 2018, the proposed lease sale 250 includes all available unleased areas on the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf. It is said to be the largest oil and gas lease sale in US history.

US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said: “In today’s low-price energy environment, providing the offshore industry access to the maximum amount of opportunities possible is part of our strategy to spur local and regional economic dynamism and job creation and a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy dominant.

“And the economic terms proposed for this sale include a range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers.”

The proposed lease sale, which will be the second under the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022, includes 14,375 unleased blocks, located from 3 to 230 miles offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern planning areas.

According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the OCS is estimated to hold about 90 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas.

Covering about 160 million acres, the Gulf of Mexico OCS technically contains over 48 billion barrels of oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of gas of recoverable resources.

The proposed region-wide lease sale is estimated to result in resources production ranging from 0.21 to 1.12 billion barrels of oil and from 0.55 to 4.42 trillion cubic feet of gas.


Image: An oil and gas platform deployed offshore Gulf of Mexico. Photo: courtesy of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management/U.S. Department of the Interior.