The US Government will provide 41.2 million acres for oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of Mexico in Lease Sale 235 of the Central Planning Area.
Lease Sale 235, which is due to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on 18 March, features 7,788 unleased blocks located from three to 230 miles offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, in water depths ranging from three metres to 3,400m.
The proposed sale is estimated to produce around one billion barrels of oil and four trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director Abigail Ross Hopper said: "This lease sale underscores the president’s commitment to create jobs through the safe and responsible exploration and development of the nation’s domestic energy resources.
"As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico is an important part of the administration’s energy strategy."
The Gulf of Mexico contributes around 18% of oil and 5% of gas production to the domestic market.
Hopper added: "As a critical component of the nation’s energy portfolio, the Gulf holds vital energy resources that can continue to generate jobs and spur economic opportunities for Gulf producing states, as well as further reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil."
Lease Sale 235 will be the seventh offshore auction under the government’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012 to 2017.
It builds on the first six sales in the programme that provided more than 60 million acres for development and collected $2.4bn in high bids.