MMS Issues Final Notices of Central and Eastern Gulf Lease Sales

The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) issued final notices for two Federal oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. Central Gulf of Mexico (CGOM) Lease Sale 206 and Eastern Gulf of Mexico (EGOM) Lease Sale 224 will be held consecutively March 19, 2008, in the St. Charles Club Room, at the Louisiana Superdome in downtown New Orleans. The Final Notices of Sale (FNOS) were published in today's Federal Register.

Lease Sale 206 encompasses approximately 5,000 unleased blocks covering more than 28.5 million acres in the CGOM Planning Area offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The acreage is located from three to 230 miles offshore in water depths of about 10 feet (three meters) to more than 11,200 feet (3,400 meters).

Lease Sale 224, mandated by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, encompasses 118 whole or partial unleased blocks covering approximately 547,000 acres in the EGOM Planning Area. The acreage is located 125 statute miles and greater offshore, south of the Florida panhandle and west of the Military Mission Line in water depths ranging from 2,657 feet (810 meters) to 10,213 feet (3,113 meters).

Sale 224 is the only sale scheduled in the current Five Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program to include acreage in the Eastern GOM. The acreage included in this Eastern GOM Lease Sale 224 was last available for lease in 1988.

"Sale 224 is the first sale where the revenue sharing provisions of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 will start immediately. The states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas will share in revenue from all leases resulting from Sale 224," noted Randall Luthi, MMS director.

The MMS estimates that the Sale 224 area contains from 100 to 140 million barrels of oil and 0.16 to 0.34 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and the Sale 206 area contains approximately 0.877 to 1.457 billion barrels of oil and 3.653 to 5.892 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The FNOS for sales 206 and 224 include an increase in the royalty rate to 18.75 percent from 16.67 percent and will include rental rates of $6.25/acre for tracts in waters 200 meters or less and $9.50/acre for tracts in deeper waters.

The Final Notices of Sale information packages are posted on the MMS Website.