The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) yesterday offered 20.7 million acres in the Western Gulf of Mexico for lease. The auction attracted over $102 million in high bids for 53 tracts covering 301,006 acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf offshore Texas.
The sale offered all unleased and non-protected areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico planning area, including 3,864 tracts from nine to more than 250 miles off the coast, in depths ranging from 16′ to more than 10,975′. BOEM, part of the Department of the Interior, estimates that the lease sale could result in the production of 116 to 200 million bbls. of oil and 538 to 938 billion cu. ft. of natural gas.
Twelve offshore energy companies submitted 61 bids. The highest bid on a single tract was more than $30.5 million submitted by ConocoPhillips Company for Alaminos Canyon Block 475. ConocoPhilips also submitted the highest total amount in bonus bids, more than $50 million on 29 tracts.
This sale is the third held under the Obama administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012–2017 (Five Year Program), which makes available for exploration and development all of the offshore areas with the highest conventional resource potential. The first two auctions were a 39-million-acre Central Gulf offering held in March, which netted about $1.2 billion in high bids, and a 20-million-acre Western Gulf offering held last November that netted nearly $134 million.
Following the sale, each bid will now go through a strict evaluation process within BOEM to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded. Statistics for Sale 233 are available at: http://www.boem.gov/Sale-233.