A day after promising a 75-percent increase in offshore exploration, President Barack Obama's administration announced Thursday that it will hold a new oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Expanding offshore oil and gas production is a key component of our comprehensive energy strategy to grow America's energy economy, and will help us continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs here at home," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in a statement.
The lease sale, set to be held on June 20 in New Orleans, will cover approximately 38 million acres of available unleased areas offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates the sale could produce up to 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
BOEM has also increased the minimum bid for deepwater to $100 per acre, up from $37.50, in an effort to "ensure that taxpayers receive fair market value for offshore resources and to provide leaseholders with additional impetus to invest in leases that they are more likely to develop".
"The President has made it clear that developing our domestic oil and gas resources is a significant part of this administration's efforts to grow our economy and create jobs. This lease sale is part of our commitment to safe and responsible development of the Outer Continental Shelf," said Salazar.
Obama is scheduled to highlight the sale in Nevada later Thursday.
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