The US Department of the Interior (DOI) has announced that its offshore Lease Sale 249 will offer almost 76 million acres for oil and gas exploration off Texas Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, all the states with Gulf of Mexico coastlines.
It will include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf, amounting to 75.9 million acres.
Lease Sale 249, offering 75.9 million acres, features about 14,220 unleased blocks, ranging from three to 231 miles offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern planning areas at water depths ranging from nine feet to more than 11,000 feet.
It is the first offshore sale under the national Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022 and it will be livestreamed from New Orleans on August 16. Under the five-year plan, two lease sales per year will be held, totalling 10 sales over the period.
Earlier this month the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) – part of the DOI – announced that this auction would require reduced royalty rates for shallow-water (200 metres depth or less) areas, with the rate coming down from 18.75% to 12.5% to encourage bidders at this difficult economic time for the energy industry.