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MMS Revises Royalty Suspension Volume for Upcoming Western Gulf Lease Sale

The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) last Wednesday said that certain parts of the deepwater royalty suspension volume provisions contained in the final notice of sale for the upcoming Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 196 have been revised as a result of the newly-enacted energy bill, and the changes were to be published in the Federal Register.

The new provisions will replace those that appeared in the final notice of sale that was published in the Federal Register on July 7. Specifically, the post-energy bill provisions replace the "1,600 meters or deeper" category of royalty relief and establish two new royalty suspension volume categories: 12 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) for leases located in water depths of 1,600 or 2,000 meters; and 16 million boe for leases located in water depths greater than 2,000 meters. The new royalty suspension volumes will apply to all relevant leases issued as a result of Lease Sale 196, the agency said.

MMS said that all other provisions of the sale, including price thresholds for these new categories of deepwater royalty suspensions, remain the same as those stated in the July 7 final notice of sale. Lease Sale 196 is scheduled to be held on Wednesday (Aug. 17) in New Orleans.

Bidders can obtain supplemental information on the final notice of sale for the upcoming Lease Sale 196 by calling (504) 736-2519, or by e-mailing MMS at www.mms.gov.

The supplemental data includes the MMS' latest Federal Register Notice regarding Sale 196; revised lease sale statistical information; revised royalty suspension provisions; revised list of blocks available for leasing; and revised lease terms and economic conditions map.

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