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US To Auction 24 Million Acres for Oil, Gas Exploration in Gulf of Mexico

Offshore Exploration

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said on Friday it would auction in August 23.8 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration in a bid to ramp up domestic production.

The area is expected to produce economically recoverable hydrocarbons of between 116 million and 200 million barrels of oil and between 538 billion and 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas, the bureau has estimated.

The auction, which includes all unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, will take place on August 24, 2016 and will be broadcast live on the Internet, as BOEM strives to achieve higher government transparency and efficiency.

The 248 Lease Sale will include 4,399 blocks, located in depths ranging between 16 feet and 10,975 feet.

The Gulf of Mexico is still one of the world’s most productive areas and a vital part of the US domestic energy portfolio, BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said in the bureau’s statement.

The Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 248 is the eleventh sale in the Gulf of Mexico under the 2012-2017 Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program and the last one for this year. The previous ten sales of the program had put up for sale more than 60 million acres in total and reaped almost $3 billion for the American taxpayer, BOEM said. The 2012-2017 Lease Sale Schedule shows that the bureau will auction in 2017 an area in the Cook Inlet as part of the Alaska Lease Schedule and an area in the Central Gulf of Mexico as part of the Gulf of Mexico Lease Sales.

Under the 2017-2022 Proposed Program Lease Sale Schedule, the BOEM plans to auction 10 areas in the Gulf of Mexico and 3 areas in the Alaska Region.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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