The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that it will hold an oil and gas lease sale for the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM) on 17 November, in compliance with an order from a US District Court, as the administration of US President Joe Biden continues its comprehensive review of the deficiencies associated with its offshore and onshore oil and gas leasing programs.
Lease Sale 257, scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans, will be the eighth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Lease Sale 257 will include approximately 15,135 unleased blocks located from 3 to 231 miles offshore in the GOM with water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 ft (3 to 3,400 m).
Among the blocks excluded from the lease sale are the blocks subject to the congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks 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 boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary as of the July 2008 Memorandum on Withdrawal of Certain Areas of US OCS from Leasing Disposition.
The Gulf of Mexico OCS, covering about 160 million acres, is estimated to contain about 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas.
BOEM will include lease stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts between oil and gas development and other activities and users in the GOM.
Fiscal terms include a 12.5% royalty rate for leases in less than 200 meters of water depth and a royalty rate of 18.75% for all other leases issued pursuant to the sale. BOEM will be accepting bids by mail only for Sale 257. Walk-in delivery of bids will not be permitted for this sale. BOEM reserves the right to reject bids received.
The stipulation that was added for Lease Sale 256 last year specifying the time frame for decisions on an Application for Permit to Drill (APD) and an Application for Permit to Modify (APM) is not included for Lease Sale 257 because it is not needed.