The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced plans to hold a Gulf of Mexico region-wide oil and gas lease sale on Mar. 18, 2020, offering 78 million acres. Lease Sale 254, which would include all unleased areas in federal waters in the gulf that are not subject to congressional moratorium, will be the sixth held under the 2017-22 federal OCS leasing program, BOEM said in a press statement.
Excluded from the lease sale are blocks adjacent to or beyond the US Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap and whole blocks and partial blocks within the current boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
The 2017-22 program calls for 10 region-wide sales in the gulf where resource potential and industry interest is high and oil and gas transportation systems are well established, officials said. Two region-wide sales will be held each year and will include all available blocks in the combined western, central, and eastern gulf planning areas.
The Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf, covering about 160 million acres, is estimated to contain 48 billion bbl of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 tcf of undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas.
Sale No. 254, which will take place live online from New Orleans, will include 14,585 unleased blocks 3-231 miles offshore in 9-11,115 ft of water.
Fiscal terms proposed for Lease Sale 254 include a 12.5% royalty rate for leases in less than 200 m of water depth, and a royalty rate of 18.75% for all other leases issued pursuant to the sale.
All terms were included in the Proposed Notice of Sale, which was posted online on Oct. 7.