Interior Details June 20 Gulf Leases Sale

Scheduled to take place at the Superdome in New Orleans, it will include 7,276 blocks on about 38.6 million acres.

Oil and gas production leases on about 38.6 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama will be included in the June 20 Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy Beaudreau announced May 17.

They said the sale will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. BOEM estimates it could result in the production of more than 1 billion barrels of oil and more than 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. "As part of the Obama administration's all of the above energy strategy, we continue to make millions of acres of federal waters and public lands available for safe and responsible domestic energy exploration and development," Salazar said.

"The Gulf of Mexico is the crown jewel of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf and home to a number of world-class producing basins, including many in deepwater areas that are becoming increasingly accessible with new technology," said Beaudreau. "There have been a number of significant discoveries in the past two years alone, and this sale will continue making significant and promising areas available while encouraging diligent development and providing the taxpayer a fair return."

The blocks are located from 3 to about 230 miles offshore in water depths ranging from 9 feet to more than 11,115 feet. These acres contain close to 31 billion barrels of oil and 134 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that are currently undiscovered and technically recoverable, according to BOEM, which has increased the minimum bid in deepwater from $37.50 to $100 per acre "to ensure that taxpayers receive fair market value for offshore resources and to provide leaseholders with additional impetus to invest in leases that they are more likely to develop."

The agency completed a supplemental environmental impact statement for the sale, which considers the latest available information for the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Final Notice of Sale information package is available at http://www.boem.gov/sale-216-222/. It includes the BOEM Record of Decision, which contains this statement: "It is not very likely that accidental events, such as a large oil spill, associated with the CPA [Central Planning Area] proposed action would occur and contact coastal prehistoric or historic archaeological sites. Should a spill contact a prehistoric archaeological site, damage might include loss of radiocarbon-dating potential, direct impact from oil-spill cleanup equipment, and/or looting resulting in the irreversible loss of unique or significant archaeological information. The major effect from an oil-spill impact on coastal historic archaeological sites would be visual contamination, which would be temporary and reversible."

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