Region-wide gulf lease sale yields nearly $125 million in high bids

The region-wide Gulf of Mexico lease sale, held Mar. 21 in New Orleans by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, generated $124,763,581 in apparent high bids for 148 tracts in the gulf’s federal waters.

The region-wide Gulf of Mexico lease sale, held Mar. 21 in New Orleans by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, generated $124,763,581 in apparent high bids for 148 tracts in the gulf’s federal waters.

A total of 33 companies participated in Lease Sale 250—which covered 815,403 acres—submitting $139,122,383 in bids. The sale included 14,474 unleased blocks 3-231 miles offshore in the gulf’s western, central, and eastern planning areas in 3-3,400 m of water.

BP Exploration & Production Inc., Chevron USA Inc., and Shell Offshore Inc. rounded out the top three companies based on the number of apparent high bids submitted. BP E&P submitted 27 apparent high bids totaling $20,068,202; Chevron USA, 24 totaling $29,448,882; and Shell Offshore, 16 totaling $22,931,808.

The deepest block receiving a bid was Lloyd Ridge Block 628 in 2,930 m of water. The tract receiving the greatest number of bids was Mississippi Canyon Block 509 with 3 bids. The highest bid on a block, made by Total E&P USA Inc., was more than $7 million for Mississippi Canyon Block 697 in more than 1,600 m of water.

The deepwater was the main draw at the sale, with nearly $65 million in apparent high bids received for 59 tracts in greater than 1,600 m of water. Nearly $45 million in apparent high bids was received for 35 tracts in 800-1,600 m of water.

Shell Offshore, with a bid of about $6.5 million, was the company submitting the second single-highest bid for Alaminos Canyon Block 259 in 800-1,600 m of water.

“Today’s lease sale is yet another step our nation has taken to achieve economic security and energy dominance,” said Joe Balash, US Department of the Interior assistant secretary for land and minerals management.

“Today’s results will help secure high-paying offshore jobs for rig and platform workers, support staff onshore, and related industry jobs, while generating much-needed revenue to fund everything from conservation to infrastructure,” Balash said.

Lease Sale 250 was the second offshore sale held under the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-22, which calls for 10 region-wide gulf lease sales where resource potential and industry interest are high and oil and gas infrastructure is well established. Each year, two gulf lease sales will be held that include all available blocks in the combined western, central, and eastern gulf planning areas.

Excluded from the lease sale are blocks subject to the congressional moratorium established by the gulf Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks that are adjacent to or beyond the US Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap; and whole blocks and partial blocks within the current boundary of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

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