Gulf of Mexico lease sale yields $156 million in high bids

March 23, 2016
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has announced that today’s oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico garnered $156 million in high bids for 128 tracts in the Central Planning Area.  

Offshore staff

NEW ORLEANS – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that today’s oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico garnered $156 million in high bids for 128 tracts covering 693,962 acres in the Central Planning Area of the outer continental shelf offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

A total of 30 offshore energy companies submitted 148 bids. The sum of all bids received totaled $179,172,819. No bids were received in the Eastern Planning Area.

The $156 million was the fourth lowest total for sales in the central region — traditionally the Gulf's most active territory — since sales started back in 1983, officials said.

“The Gulf remains a critical component of our nation’s energy portfolio and holds important energy resources that spur economic opportunities for Gulf producing states while reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” said Assistant Secretary Janice Schneider. “Though these sales reflect today’s market conditions and industry’s current development strategy, they underscore the President’s commitment to create jobs and home-grown energy through the safe and responsible exploration and development of our offshore energy resources.”

The lease sale offered nearly 45 million acres covering tracts in the Central and Eastern planning areas of the Gulf of Mexico.

Central Planning Area (CPA) Sale 241 attracted $156,385,610 in high bids on 128 blocks covering 693,962 acres. A total of 30 offshore energy companies participated in submitting 148 bids totaling $179,172,819. The CPA encompasses 8,349 unleased blocks, covering 44.3 million acres, located from three to 230 nautical miles offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,115 ft (three to 3,400 m).

Sale 226, the second of two lease sales proposed for the Eastern Planning Area under the current Five Year Program, encompasses 162 whole or partial unleased blocks covering 595,475 acres in the Eastern Planning Area not subject to congressional moratorium. The blocks are located at least 125 statute miles offshore in water depths ranging from 2,657 ft to 10,213 ft (810 to 3,113 meters). The area is south of eastern Alabama and western Florida; the nearest point of land is 125 miles northwest in Louisiana.

Though the sale did not receive any bids, the BOEM said that continued interest in this area is evidenced by ongoing and planned activity on existing leases from past sales as well as from similar activity on existing leases immediately adjacent to this area within the Gulf’s Central Planning Area.

Following today’s sales, the BOEM said that each bid will go through a 90-day evaluation process to ensure that the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.