The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Wednesday held Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 233, which offered up 20.7 million acres and attracted $102,351,712 in high bids for 53 tracts covering 301,006 acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore Texas. A total of 12 offshore energy companies submitted 61 bids.
Sale 233 is the third lease auction held under the Obama Administration’s current Five Year Program, and follows a 39-million-acre Central Gulf offering held in March, which netted almost $1.2 billion high bids, and a 20-million-acre Western Gulf offering held last November that netted nearly $134 million.
“This offshore oil and gas lease sale supports continued growth in safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management and BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “Over the past fourteen months, the offshore oil and gas industry has invested well over $3 billion in new federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Today’s sale offered all unleased and non-protected areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico planning area, including 3,864 tracts from nine to more than 250 miles off the coast, in depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (five to 3,346 meters). BOEM estimates the 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.
The highest bid on a single tract was submitted by ConocoPhillips, who bid $30,583,560 for Alaminos Canyon Block 475, located about 60 miles northeast of Royal Dutch Shell’s Perdido platform. ConocoPhilips also submitted the highest total amount in bonus bids, totaling $50,323,180 on 29 tracts.
The Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012–2017 (Five Year Program) makes available for exploration and development all of the offshore areas with the highest conventional resource potential that together include more than 75 percent of the Nation’s undiscovered, technically recoverable offshore oil and gas resources.
Domestic oil and gas production has grown each year the President has been in office, BOEM says, with domestic oil production currently higher than any time in two decades; natural gas production at its highest level ever; and renewable electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources having doubled. Combined with recent declines in oil consumption, foreign oil imports now account for less than 40 percent of the oil consumed in America – the lowest level since 1988.
Not included in today’s sale was BP, who cannot obtain new federal contracts, including leases, under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ban issued last November.