Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico lease sale held by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), has yielded $22.7m in high bids for 190,080 acres in the Western Planning Area.

The Lease Sale 246 attracted bids for tracts located on the US Outer Continental Shelf, offshore Texas.

A total of five offshore energy companies, including Anadarko Petroleum, BHP Billiton, BP, Peregrine Oil and Gas, and Ecopetrol America submitted 33 bids on 33 tracts, covering around 190,080 acres.

BOEM director Abigail Ross Hopper 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, creating jobs and home-grown energy, and reducing dependence on foreign oil.

"While this sale reflects today’s market conditions, and the industry’s current development strategy, it underscores a steady, continued interest in developing deep water federal offshore oil and gas resources."

The lease sale builds on the first seven sales that were held under the Obama Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing programme for 2012-17.

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"The companies that did participate in this sale should be appreciated for their faith in a bright energy future."

The programme offered over 60 million acres for development, and attained $2.9bn in bid revenues, awarding 1,038 leases.

Making available all offshore areas with the highest resource potential, the five-year programme includes 75% of the nation’s undiscovered offshore oil and gas resources.

Lease Sale 246 covers around 21.9 million acres, which are located from nine to 250nm offshore in water, ranging from 16ft to more than 10,975ft deep.

Following the sale, BOEM will thoroughly evaluate each bid in an attempt to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.

Commenting on the lease sale, National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) president Randall Luthi said: "The entire oil and natural gas industry, particularly the offshore segment, is understandably being very cautious about spending money.

"The companies that did participate in this sale should be appreciated for their faith in a bright energy future, and in the potential of the Gulf of Mexico in spite of discouraging market and other conditions."

US oil prices have dropped to $40 a barrel compared to $107 a barrel in June 2014 on oversupply concerns.

Image: The Gulf of Mexico in 3D perspective. Photo: courtesy of NOAA.