The US announced that BOEM will offer 78 million acres for a region-wide lease sale scheduled for March 2019. The sale will include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Lease Sale 252 will be the fourth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program).
Under this program, 10 region-wide lease sales are planned for the Gulf, where resource potential and industry interest are high, and oil and gas infrastructure is well established. Two Gulf lease sales will be held each year and incorporate all available blocks in the Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas.
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Lease Sale 252 will include about 14,696 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.
The following areas will be excluded from the lease sale:
- 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.
Leases resulting from this sale would include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, address possible adverse effects on protected species and prevent conflicts regarding oil and gas development in the region.
Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash, said:
The development of our abundant offshore resources is a major pillar of this Administration’s energy strategy. America benefits from domestic energy production, which provides money for our Treasury, thousands of well-paying jobs, affordable and reliable energy to heat our homes, fuel our cars, and power our economy