The sale is the eighth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program


Nearly 78 million acres in the US Gulf of Mexico to be offered in Lease Sale 257. (Credit: wasi1370 from Pixabay)

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is planning to offer approximately 78.2 million acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), for oil and gas exploration and development in the next lease sale.

Scheduled for March 2021, the proposed region-wide Lease Sale 257 will include approximately 14,594 unleased blocks in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The proposed notice of sale represents the eighth 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.

BOEM’s previous lease sale delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic

BOEM is also scheduled the Lease Sale 256 on 18 November, which was initially scheduled for August 2020.

However, due to changes in the oil and gas markets amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Lease Sale 256 was postponed to undertake the additional analysis.

BOEM Gulf of Mexico Region director Mike Celata said: “Despite circumstances imposed by the coronavirus, we are confident that industry remains interested in acquiring new leases to support their portfolios.

“The Gulf of Mexico is a world-class resource area that serves a key role in our nation’s energy security.”

Excluded from lease sale are blocks that are near or beyond the US Exclusive Economic Zone in the northern portion of the Eastern Gap.

It also excludes blocks within the current boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

As per BOEM, the Gulf of Mexico OCS is estimated to hold nearly 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil along with 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas in an area spanning nearly 160 million acres.