Proposed Oil and Gas Lease Sale Could Change View of Gulf

Mobile, Ala. (WKRG) – The Bureau of Energy Management (BOEM) announced Tuesday the proposed development of over 76 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration. The proposed oil and gas lease sale includes areas off of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and could be as close as three miles offshore, close enough to be seen from coastal beaches.

Listed as the Proposed Lease Sale 250, the sale includes the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern Planning area in depths from 9 to more than 11,000 feet of water.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said Tuesday: “In today’s low-price energy environment, providing the offshore industry access to the maximum amount of opportunities possible is part of our strategy to spur local and regional economic dynamism and job creation and a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy dominant. And the economic terms proposed for this sale include a range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers.”

This is the largest single offering of oil and gas leases ever held in the United States, surpassing last years offering by about 1 million acres which resulted in $121 million in high bids.

The BOEM estimates that the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), covering nearly 160 million acres, contains nearly 90 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. The estimated amount of resources projected to be developed in the proposed area ranges from 0.21 to 1.12 billion barrels of oil and from 0.55 to 4.42 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Congressman Bradley Byrne issued a statement Tuesday morning applauding the announcement:

“I applaud Secretary Zinke and the Department of Interior for their efforts to spur energy production and support communities along the Gulf Coast. Revenue from these leases will be a huge boost for Gulf states, like Alabama, and will help us continue conservation and preservation of our treasured coastal areas. Through developments like this, we can ensure American energy dominance and make life better for Gulf Coast families.”- Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01)

The sale is planned for March of 2018 and is subject to changes that would be announced in the Final Notice of Sale.

Proceeds from the leases are directed to the U.S. Treasury, Gulf Coast states, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Historic Preservation Fund.

See the proposed area map here.

WKRG is continuing to get new information on this story and will post updates when available.

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