Last week, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that BOEM will offer more than 21 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development in a lease sale that will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.

Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 238, to be held in New Orleans on Aug. 20, will be the sixth offshore sale under the Obama administration’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program). This sale builds on the first five sales in the current Five Year Program, which have offered more than 60 million acres and netted nearly $2.3 billion.

Sale 238 will include approximately 4,026 blocks, covering roughly 21.6 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16' to more than 10,975'. 

BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 116 million bbls. to 200 million bbls. of oil and 538 billion cu. ft. to 938 bcf of natural gas.

BOEM will offer blocks located, or partially located, within the three statute mile U.S.-Mexico Boundary Area, as well as blocks within the former Western Gap that lie within 1.4 nm north of the Continental Shelf Boundary (1.4-nm buffer) between the U.S. and Mexico, subject to the terms of the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement.

The terms of this sale include conditions to ensure both orderly resource development and protection of the human, marine and coastal environments. These include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species and avoid potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development in the region

BOEM’s economic terms include the same range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers as used in previous sales.

The U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, is a significant contributor of oil and gas to the Nation’s energy supply. As of July 2014, BOEM administered more than 6,100 active oil and gas leases covering nearly 34 million OCS acres. Production from these leases generates billions of dollars in revenue for the Federal Treasury and state governments while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. In 2013, oil and gas leases on the OCS accounted for approximately 18% of domestic oil production and 5% of domestic natural gas production. The offshore areas of the U.S. also are estimated to contain significant quantities of resources in yet-to-be-discovered fields.

All terms and conditions for Western Sale 238 are detailed in the Final Notice of Sale information package, which is available at: CDs and copies of the maps may be requested from the Gulf of Mexico Region’s Public Information Unit at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70123, or at 800-200-GULF (4853).

The Notice of Availability of the Final Notice of Sale is available for inspection in the Federal Register at: