TOMORROW: Obama Administration To Offer More Than 20 Million Acres in Western Gulf of Mexico for Oil and Natural Gas Exploration and Development

November Sale Will Offer All Available Unleased Areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico, Only Latest in a Series of Recent Major Offshore Oil and Gas Sales

Last edited 9/29/2021

WASHINGTON – Tomorrow, as part of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold an oil and gas lease sale that will make more than 20 million offshore acres available, and represents all unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. The Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale builds on two major Gulf of Mexico lease sales in the past year alone, a 21 million acre sale held last December and a 39 million acre sale held in June.

“At President Obama's direction, his Administration continues to implement a comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy strategy, expanding domestic production, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and supporting jobs,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “Developing public energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico continues to generate much needed revenue for local communities while helping to power our nation and fuel our economy.”

The lease sale will be held on November 28, 2012 at 9:00 AM CDT, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana—and supports the Administration's goal of continuing to increase domestic oil and gas production, which has grown each year the President has been in office, with domestic oil production in 2011 higher than any time in nearly a decade and natural gas production at its highest level ever. Foreign oil imports now account for less than 50 percent of the oil consumed in America – the lowest level since 1995.

Tomorrow's offshore lease sale will be the first held under the Administration's new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012–2017 (Five Year Program), which makes available for exploration and development all of the offshore areas with the highest conventional resource potential that together include more than 75 percent of the Nation's undiscovered, technically recoverable offshore oil and gas resources. BOEM also recently announced that the next Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale, proposed Lease Sale 227, will take place on March 20, 2013, making 38 million acres available.

“BOEM is committed to promoting the safe development of the Nation's critical offshore oil and gas resources while taking steps to safeguard the marine and coastal communities,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “This sale represents a key component of the President's comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy strategy and the regionally tailored and responsible approach that we are taking under the Five Year Program.”

The sale will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area – encompassing 3,873 blocks and covering roughly 20.8 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet (five to 3,346 meters). BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 116 to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The most recent sale in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning area, Western Gulf of Mexico Sale 218, took place on December 14, 2011. BOEM awarded 181 leases on tracts covering 1,036,205 acres to the successful high bidders who participated in the sale. The accepted high bids were valued at $324,971,001. The most recent sale in the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning area, Central Gulf of Mexico Sale 216/222, took place on June 20, 2012. BOEM awarded 442 leases on tracts covering 2,335,646 acres to the successful high bidders who participated in the sale. The accepted high bids were valued at $1,681,578,390.

BOEM established the terms for tomorrow's sale after extensive environmental analysis, public comment and consideration of the best scientific information available. These terms include measures to protect the environment, such as stipulations requiring that operators protect biologically sensitive features and provide trained observers to monitor marine mammals and sea turtles to ensure compliance and restrict operations when conditions warrant. The terms also continue a range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers — including an increased minimum bid for deepwater tracts, escalating rental rates and tiered durational terms with relatively short base periods followed by additional time under the same lease if the operator drills a well during the initial period.

During tomorrow's sale, BOEM will open 131 bids submitted by 13 companies on 116 offshore blocks. Following the bid reading, BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau and Gulf of Mexico Regional Director John Rodi will hold a media availability to discuss the sale results.

Tommy P. Beaudreau, BOEM Director

John Rodi, BOEM Gulf of Mexico Regional Director
Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 229 and Media Availability
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

9:00 a.m. CDT / 10:00 a.m. EDT - Sale begins with remarks and bid reading
10:30 a.m. CDT / 11:30 a.m. EDT - Media availability and press conference call at conclusion of bid reading
Mercedes-Benz Superdome

St. Charles Club Room, 2nd floor

1500 Sugarbowl Drive,

(park Garage 6, enter Gate A)

New Orleans, LA
Media representatives unable to attend the Lease Sale may participate in the press conference by calling 800-779-1423. The passcode is: 48420.

The Final Notice of Sale for Sale 229 details the lease terms and conditions, as well as all the environmental stipulations for this sale. The Final Notice of Sale information package is available at: