The region-wide Gulf of Mexico lease sale conducted on Wednesday generated $121,143,055 in high bids for 90 tracts covering 508,096 acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
In total, 27 companies participated in the sale, submitting 99 bids totaling $137,006,181. The sale offered the largest amount of acreage in the history of the federal offshore program in the Gulf, including parcels offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Lease Sale 249, livestreamed from New Orleans, is the first offshore sale under the National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. Under this program, nine additional region-wide lease sales that combine all three planning areas are scheduled for the Gulf, where resource potential and industry interest are high and oil and gas infrastructure is well established.
The estimated amount of resources projected to be developed as a result of the region-wide lease sale ranges from approximately 0.21 to 1.12 billion barrels of oil and 0.55 to 4.42 trillion cubic feet of gas. As of August 1, 2017, 15.9 million acres on the U.S. OCS are under lease for oil and gas development (2,994 active leases) and 4.3 million of those acres (870 leases) are producing oil and natural gas. More than 97 percent of these leases are in the Gulf of Mexico; about three percent are on the OCS off California and Alaska.
“The path to American energy dominance starts in the Gulf, and the hard work of rig and platform workers, support staff onshore, and the industries that support them cannot go unnoticed,” said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. “Today’s results will help secure their jobs and create more good paying jobs while generating $121 million in revenue to fund everything from conservation to infrastructure.”
National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Randall Luthi says: “While the results of today’s Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale reflect market realities, they also demonstrate the offshore oil and gas industry’s commitment to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, even with extended low commodity prices and lingering regulatory dysfunction.
“Industry has continually demonstrated a commitment to providing tremendous economic and energy benefits for our nation, despite the fact that unwise energy policies have closed over 94 percent of U.S. offshore areas to leasing and exploratory activities. Offshore lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico contributed $80 billion to the U.S. Treasury between 2005 and 2014 alone. Responsible offshore oil and gas development is critical to America’s economic and energy security. We applaud the companies who submitted bids today.”
The sale coincides with the establishment of a new industry worker coalition: the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) has announced the launching of “Energy Builders”, a new community-based coalition of workers, families and businesses dedicated to educating friends, neighbors and elected officials about the importance and benefits of energy infrastructure and its ongoing development.