The Lease Sale 256 will include approximately 14,755 unleased blocks in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), an agency within the US Department of the Interior (DOI), has announced plans to offer about 78.8 million acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), for oil and gas exploration and development during the November 2020 lease sale.
The proposed region-wide lease, named Lease Sale 256, will include approximately 14,755 unleased blocks.
It marks the seventh offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, which will see 10 region-wide lease sales with two lease sales to be undertaken annually.
Lease Sale 256 was initially scheduled for August 2020
The Lease Sale 256 was initially scheduled for August 2020 but was postponed to November 2020 to undertake additional analysis due to recent changes in the oil and gas markets amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
BOEM Gulf of Mexico region director Mike Celata said: “The Gulf of Mexico provides a fundamental role for our nation’s energy portfolio.
“As one of the most productive basins in the world, the development of its resources is essential to our nation’s energy security.”
The sale, however, would exclude blocks subject to the congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, and whole blocks and partial blocks within the current boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
It also excludes the blocks adjacent to or beyond the US Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap.
According to estimates, the Gulf of Mexico OCS contains about 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas and 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil.
A total of 22 companies have participated in the lease sale round and submitted $108.5m in total bids for 71 tracts in Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.