As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that it will hold Gulf of Mexico Eastern Planning Area oil and gas lease sale 225 in New Orleans on March 19, 2014, immediately following the proposed Central Planning Area (CPA) Sale 231.
Proposed Sale 225 is the first lease sale proposed for the Eastern Planning Area under the 2012 – 2017 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program, and the first sale offering acreage in that area since Sale 224, held in March of 2008.
“This proposed sale is another important step to promote responsible domestic energy production through the safe, environmentally sound exploration and development of the Nation’s offshore energy resources,” said BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau.
The proposed sale encompasses 134 whole or partial unleased blocks covering approximately 465,200 acres in the Eastern Planning Area. The blocks are located at least 125 statute miles offshore in water depths ranging from 2,657 feet (810 meters) to 10,213 feet (3,113 meters). The area is bordered by the Central Planning Area boundary on the West and the Military Mission Line (86 degrees 41’W) on the East. It is south of eastern Alabama and western Florida; the nearest point of land is 125 miles northwest in Louisiana.
Of the 134 blocks available in this sale, 93 are located in the same area offered in 2008’s Eastern Planning Area Sale 224 and are subject to revenue sharing under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA), which provides that the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas share in 37.5 percent of the bonus payments. These four Gulf producing states will also share in 37.5 percent of all future revenues generated from those leases. Additionally, 12.5 percent of revenues from those leases are allocated to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The remaining 41 blocks, located just south of that area, are not subject to revenue sharing under GOMESA.
BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 71 million barrels of oil and 162 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The decision to move forward with plans for this lease sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment, and consideration of the best scientific information available. In October, BOEM published a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed Eastern Planning Area Sales 225 and 226. The Final EIS updated information gathered in three previous EIS’s. EPA Sale 226, scheduled for 2016, is the only other Eastern Gulf of Mexico lease sale proposed under the current Five Year Program.
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