Keeping with its May announcement that it would expand domestic oil and gas production safely and responsibly, on Friday the Obama administration announced that it will hold the first oil and natural gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico since last year’s BP disaster.
Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 218 is scheduled to be held in New Orleans Dec. 14. The sale will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf off the Texas shore.
“BOEMRE has taken aggressive steps to renew our commitment to the responsible stewardship of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf,” said Director Michael Bromwich. “The decision to hold this sale was made after careful analysis of the best scientific information available and consideration of all public comments received.”
The proposed lease sale encompasses about 3,900 unleased blocks covering approximately 20.6 million acres. The blocks are located from nine to about 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (5 to 3,346 meters). BOEMRE estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 222 to 423 million barrels of oil and 1.49 to 2.65 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
BOEMRE wants to increase the minimum bid amount for blocks in water depths of 1,312 feet (400 meters) and greater to $100 per acre, up from $37.50 per acre, to ensure receipt of fair market value for the lease rights sold. The administration also hopes the increase will encourage diligent development from bidders. It says the change is based on a rigorous historical analysis of the last 15 years of lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico:
The analysis, adjusted for energy prices at time of each sale, demonstrates that leases that received high bids of less than $100 per acre have experienced virtually no exploration and development activities. In light of this analysis, BOEMRE has concluded that the increase will have little to no adverse impact on the timing or magnitude of production from tracts offered in this sale. Raising the minimum bid will discourage companies from purchasing leases they are unlikely to explore in the near term.
“BOEMRE is proposing this increase in an effort to ensure that areas with the greatest resource potential are developed, and to decrease the amount of leased acreage that is warehoused and goes unexplored,” Bromwich said. “The change in terms will better ensure that the nation’s resources are being developed in a timely manner.”
The minimum bid amount for leases in the much more heavily explored and produced shallower water depths will remain at $25 per acre.
The lease sale will include environmental stipulations requiring that operators protect biologically sensitive features, as well as marine mammals and sea turtles. These stipulations will require trained observers to ensure compliance and restrict operations when conditions warrant.
Lease Sale 218 is the last remaining Western Gulf Planning Area sale scheduled in the 2007 – 2012 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program. For more info on Western Sale 218, click here.
Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on.
Thursday’s explosion aboard an oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico is now under investigation by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Money from the first and only settlement so far in a Louisiana flood board's lawsuit against dozens of energy companies will be placed in a special account dedicated to coastal restoration.
BP is heading to a federal appeals court in its effort to oust the administrator of damage settlement claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The 59-41 Senate vote was one shy short of the 60 needed to clear the House-passed measure.
Spot bonuses to employees who go above and beyond on projects one of several reasons national mag calls BR-based biz bank a cool place to work.
The Director Search Committee interviewed the five men still in the running via video last week and is set to trim the field this week.
Telecom’s decision to halt deployment to more than 100 cities while it awaits net-neutrality rules appears to be little more than a temper tantrum.
Environmental (and political) junkies got a double fix when The Lens hosted a discussion between its environmental writer and the lead attorney in the levee board suit.
Follow The IND to hear Lens environmental reporter Bob Marshall's interview with Gladstone Jones, the lead attorney in the lawsuit against the oil and gas companies for coastal damages.
The $35B deal leaves the burning question about what it will mean for the thousands of these two service giants' local employees.
Broussard & David set up shop at the corner of Jefferson and Vermilion.
in light of falling oil prices, Forbes asks, “Will there be more?”
Lake Charles lets Acadiana companies in on the action as our neighbor to the west prepares for unprecedented growth.
A new study analyzes the state of the Lake Charles region and the impact 19 industrial projects will have on residents.
A U.S. magistrate judge calls “garbage” on behavior of attorneys for Progressive Waste Solutions.
The Lafayette food truck scene is slowing down but not stopping.
Lake-area financial institutions seeing green.
As the Lake Charles region ramps up for record-setting growth, ABiz lays out the challenges and opportunities ahead for South Louisiana.
Who was hired and promoted in Acadiana business?
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns are driving innovation in Louisiana.
The boom is coming, and McNeese is ready for it.
It’s time for Lafayette and Lake Charles to embrace “coopertition.”
We can make Acadiana — in reality and reputation — the best place in the South for a great career in an idyllic family environment.
Lake Charles’ technical community college wasted no time developing programs to prepare the area’s workforce.