The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management reported it will conduct Lease Sale 231—to auction off oil and gas tracts in the central Gulf of Mexico planning area—on Mar. 19, 2014, in New Orleans.
Thirty-nine million acres will be made available offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, encompassing 7,508 unleased blocks. The locations of the blocks range 3-230 miles offshore in 9-11,115 ft of water. BOEM said the proposed lease sale could net 1 billion bbl of oil and 4 tcf of natural gas in production.
“The sale sets fiscal terms that will continue to ensure fair return to taxpayers and includes conditions to encourage diligent development as well as ensure an appropriate balance of orderly resource development with protection of the human, marine, and coastal environments,” BOEM said.
This is the fourth lease sale to be held in the 2012–17 Outer Continental Shelf leasing program (OGJ Online, Nov. 8, 2012). During Central Gulf Lease Sale 227, held in March 2012, industry only bid for 4.4% of the blocks offered with a total high bonus of $1.2 billion (OGJ Online, Mar. 20, 2013).
November 2012’s Western Gulf Lease Sale 229 saw 13 companies submit bids for 116 of 3,873 blocks offered, accounting for just 3% of 20.75 million acres. Apparent high bids totaled $133.7 million during that sale (OGJ Online, Nov. 29, 2012).
In August, BOEM’s Western Gulf Lease Sale 233 received 61 bids for 53 tracts covering just 301,006 acres out of nearly 21 million available acres. High bids totaled $102,351,712—the smallest amount so far in the leasing program (OGJ Online, Aug. 28, 2013).