Mississippi Canyon Block 474 is offered for bid in this sale. This block was excluded from the year 2001 and 2002 Central Gulf of Mexico lease offerings. The block is the site of Shell Offshore's planned NaKika Project, and it is offered in this sale with the stipulation that all exploration, development, and production activities or operations must take place from outside the lease block by the use of directional drilling or other techniques.
Included in this sale are a recently revised Protected Species Stipulation and a related Information-To-Lessees clause that are designed to minimize or avoid potential adverse impacts to federally protected species. These measures resulted from recent formal MMS consultations (pursuant to the Endangered Species Act) with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This final notice includes a new information-to-lessees clause that informs potential bidders of a proposed deepwater port and liquefied natural gas facility. This project, if licensed, may affect oil and gas operations on related blocks, most notably Vermilion Blocks 139 and 140. Also included in this final notice is an Information-To-Lessees clause informing potential bidders of potential sand dredging activities on Ship Shoal Block 88 and South Pelto Area Blocks 12 and 19. MMS intends to coordinate activities of sand dredge vessels with oil and gas lessees so as to preclude any adverse time, space, and use conflicts.
Finally, this final notice contains a requirement that each bidder submit, by the bid submission deadline, a Geophysical Data and Information Statement declaring whether they possess or control depth-migrated geophysical data and information pertaining to each block upon which they are participating as a bidder. In connection therewith, the MMS has issued a Notice to Lessees (NTL) No. 2003-G05, effective February 15, 2003, to provide more detail concerning submission of the Geophysical Data and Information Statement, making the data available to the MMS following the lease sale, preferred format, reimbursement for costs, and confidentiality.
Final Sale 185 encompasses 4,460 available blocks in the Central Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf planning area offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. This area covers about 23.4 million acres. Blocks in this sale are located from 3 to about 210 miles offshore in water depths ranging from 4 to more than 3,425 meters. Estimates of undiscovered economically recoverable hydrocarbons expected to be discovered and produced as a result of this sale range from 270 to 650 million barrels of oil and 1.59 to 3.30 trillion cubic feet natural gas.
Statistical Information Sale 185:
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