Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorn
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Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced that the Western Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 207, held today in New Orleans, attracted $487,297,676 in high bids. The sale was conducted by Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) and had 53 companies submitting 423 bids on 319 tracts comprising over 1.8 million acres offshore Texas. The sum of all bids received totaled $607,134,968.
"In the midst of the national discussion about energy production, the activity at today’s sale signals that the offshore oil and gas industry is serious about developing our Nation's resources," said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.
"This sale is an important next step in the journey to ensuring the nation’s energy security," added MMS Director Randall Luthi. "The participation of the offshore oil and gas industry in this sale shows their commitment to the leasing, exploration, and production of the nation's energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico."
Approximately 17 percent of the tracts receiving bids are in ultra-deepwater (more than 1,600 meters). The deepest tract bid on is Alaminos Canyon, Block 783 in 2,977 meters of water. The highest bid received on a tract was $61,110,000, submitted by Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC for Alaminos Canyon, Block 380.
Each high bid on a tract will go through an evaluation process within MMS to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.
Background on GOM Oil and Gas Lease Sale 207:
- This is the first sale since President Bush lifted the executive ban on OCS leasing. The national focus has shifted to the potential of increased offshore energy production, which will continue to be under a strict regulatory regime of safety and environmental safeguards.
- The Sale is an excellent backdrop to better inform the current discussion about energy production in the United States. Sales such as this are the first step in what is normally a lengthy process to explore and develop offshore oil and gas resources.
- But even after a company invests up to a billion dollars or more in a lease during pre-production activities and spends several years engaged in multiple inspections, reviews, and strict government oversight, there's a very real possibility that no amount of oil or natural gas will be found or produced.
- Secretary Kempthorne earlier this month announced the initial steps of a new Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program that could provide a significant advantage for the next administration, offering options two years earlier than the current Five Year Program.