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BOEM Set to Auction 48 Million Acres in GOM Central Planning Area

More than 48 million acres offshore Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi will be offered for oil and natural gas exploration and development in the next federal lease sale scheduled for March, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Thursday.

Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Lease Sale 247 is to include all available unleased areas in the Central Planning Area (CPA). The sale would include 9,118 blocks from three to about 230 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 9 feet to more than 11,115 feet (3-3,400 meters).

"As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico remains an important component of our domestic energy strategy to create jobs, foster economic opportunities, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil," said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. "The exploration and development of the Gulf of Mexico's energy resources will continue to help power our nation and drive our economy."

The sale would be the 12th -- and final -- sale under the Obama administration's five-year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 and would build on previous sales that to date have netted more than $ 3 billion, according to BOEM.

In the most recent CPA Lease Sale 241 held last March, only 30 producers submitted bids, with 148 offers on 128 blocks. The sale attracted high bids totaling more than $156 million on blocks covering close to 694,000 acres. CPA Sale 235 in 2015 attracted bids by 42 producers, with 195 offers for 169 blocks that resulted in bids totaling more than $583 million.

The livestream broadcast for the next CPA sale is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CST on March 22 via the BOEM website, enabling officials "to deliver pertinent bid information immediately to a much broader national and international audience."

Terms and conditions for CPA Sale 247 are detailed in the final notice of sale information package. Copies of the maps are available from the GOM Region's Public Information Unit, 1201 Elmwood Park Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70123, or by calling (800) 200-GULF (4853). The final notice is scheduled to be published on Tuesday (Dec. 27) in the Federal Register.

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