In response to a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (court), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will publish its updated Final Notice of Sale (FNOS) for Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 261 in the Federal Register tomorrow Oct. 6. BOEM plans to conduct the lease sale on Nov. 8, 2023. 

Lease Sale 261 will offer approximately 13,618 blocks on 72.7 million acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf in the Western, Central, and Eastern Planning Areas in the Gulf of Mexico. The court directed BOEM to include lease blocks that were previously excluded due to potential impacts to the Rice’s whale population from oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico, and to remove portions of a related stipulation meant to address those potential impacts from the lease terms for any leases that may result from Lease Sale 261. 

On Sept. 26, BOEM announced it would not hold Lease Sale 261 on Sept. 27, as originally planned due to the court’s ruling the day before. The order provided BOEM with additional time for a more orderly lease sale process. 

The FNOS and a map of the lease sale area are available at