Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the next federal oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico will occur in New Orleans on August 18, 2010, and will offer 18.8 million acres for oil and gas development. The Secretary made the Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 215 announcement during a tour of Superior Energy Services.
"Continued responsible development in appropriate areas of the Outer Continental Shelf is a key component of our efforts to move forward on a comprehensive energy plan, to reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil, and to create jobs here at home," said Secretary Salazar.
The available blocks in Sale 215 are located from 9 to about 250 miles offshore in water depths of 16 to more than 10,975 feet (5 to 3,346 meters). The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 242 to 423 million barrels of oil and 1.64 to 2.64 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Secretary's visit to New Orleans followed the Obama Administration's recent announcement of a comprehensive strategy for strengthening the nation's energy security and reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. The strategy calls for expanded development and production throughout the Gulf of Mexico, including resource-rich areas of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that are currently under Congressional moratorium and closed to development.
"The plan we are proposing calls for 4 more lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico by 2012 and, in the years beyond, would open up two-thirds of the oil and gas resources in the Eastern Gulf while protecting Florida's coast and critical military training areas," said Salazar. "Our efforts to strategically open new areas in the Eastern Gulf would represent the largest expansion of our nation's available offshore oil and gas supplies in three decades."
MMS estimates that the Gulf of Mexico contains 36-41.5 billion barrels of undiscovered, economically recoverable oil and 161-207 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, economically recoverable natural gas resources.
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