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BOEM Sets Date for Region-Wide Oil and Gas Lease Sale in Gulf of Mexico

Mike Schuler
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October 16, 2020

Photo: By Navin Mistry / Shutterstock

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer approximately 78 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for a region-wide lease sale now scheduled for next month, Acting Director Walter Cruickshank and Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Mike Celata announced Thursday.

The acreage includes all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition, BOEM is offering a 10-year primary term in water depths of 800 meters or deeper. The change means that leases in water depths of 800 meters to 1600 meters will start out with a primary term of 10 years, without the need to earn an “extension” of the primary term to achieve the full 10 years, BOEM said in a statement.

Lease Sale 256 is scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans on November 18, 2020. It will be the seventh of ten planned offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

The sale will include approximately 14,755, unleased blocks, located from three to 231 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 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 boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

“Domestic offshore oil and gas production plays a vital role in strengthening our nation’s energy security,” said Cruickshank. “A strong offshore energy program provides affordable and reliable energy and jobs Americans need to fuel our economy.”

The last lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, Lease Sale 253, took place in August 2019 and also offered nearly 78 million acres, of which 811,967 were leased for a total of $159,386,781 in combined high bids.

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