Lease Sale 253 constitutes the fifth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Under this program,ten region-wide lease sales are scheduled for the Gulf, where resource potential and industry interest are high, while oil and gas infrastructure is well established. Two Gulf-wide lease sales are scheduled to be held each year and include all available blocks in the combined Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas.

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Lease Sale 253 will include around 14,585 unleased blocks, located from three to 231 miles offshore, in the Gulf's Western, Central and Eastern planning areas in water depths varying from nine to more than 11,115 feet.

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;
  • Whole blocks and partial blocks within the current boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

The Gulf of Mexico OCS covers around 160 million acres, and is estimated to contain about 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas.

Leases from this proposed sale would include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, address possible adverse effects on protected species, and prevent potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development in the region.

What is more, BOEM has included appropriate fiscal terms that consider market conditions and ensure taxpayers receive a fair return for use of the OCS. These terms include a 12.5% royalty rate for leases in less than 200 meters of water depth, and a royalty rate of 18.75% for all other leases issued pursuant to the sale, recognizing current hydrocarbon price conditions and the marginal nature of remaining Gulf of Mexico shallow water resources.