Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank today announced that the bureau will offer nearly 44 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for oil and gas exploration and development in a sale that will include all available unleased areas in the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.

Proposed Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 235, scheduled to take place in New Orleans, La., in March 2015, will be the seventh offshore sale under the administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). This sale builds on the first six sales in the current Five Year Program, which have offered more than 60 million acres and netted $2.4 billion for American taxpayers.

“As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico is a cornerstone of our domestic energy portfolio, offering vital oil and gas resources that further economic growth and continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Cruickshank. “This lease sale is another important step in promoting responsible domestic energy production through the safe, environmentally sound development of the nation’s offshore energy resources, while ensuring a fair return to the American people.”

Sale 235 will include approximately 7,477 blocks, covering 43.5 million acres, located from three to 230 NM offshore, in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,000' (three to 3,400 m). BOEM plans to offer blocks located, or partially located, within the three statute mile U.S. - Mexico Boundary Area subject to the terms of the U.S. - Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement. BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 460 to 894 million bbls. of oil and 1.9 to 3.9 trillion cu. ft. of natural gas.

The sale’s fiscal terms will continue to ensure a fair return to taxpayers and include 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.

All proposed terms and conditions for Central Sale 235 are detailed in the Proposed Notice of Sale information package, which is available at: http://www.boem.gov/Sale-235/.

The Notice of Availability of the Proposed Notice of Sale is available today for inspection in the Federal Register at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html.