BOEM to Auction 20 Million Offshore Acres in August

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will auction 20.7 million acres in its Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 233. The sale will take place Aug. 28 at the Mercedes Benz-Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

BOEM is offering 3,864 blocks in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet and includes all available un-leased or non-protected areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. This will be the third sale the agency has held under the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017.

Previous Secretary, Ken Salazar, signed the five-year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing program Aug. 27, 2012. The program establishes a schedule that is used as a basis for considering where and when oil and gas leasing might be appropriate over a five-year period, the agency said.

Lease Sale 233 will be the second sale to occur in 2013 with three additional sales to occur next year. This area of the auction resides offshore Texas about nine to 250 miles from the coast. The western Gulf of Mexico area is considered a major petroleum-producing region of the United Sates. In 2007, federal leases in the western and central areas of the Gulf produced 25 percent of the nation's oil and 14 percent of the nation's natural gas, stated the agency.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement projects that oil production from the GOM will increase to 686 million barrels by this year, with a significant portion of this production coming from deepwater activity. The number of deepwater gulf rigs is expected to reach 60 by 2015, according to a recent analyst report.

In June, BOEM issued 37 permits for floating rigs, of which 20 are slated for exploration work and 17 for development work, Barclays Capital analyst James C. West in a July 16 research note.


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