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Texas Offshore Focus of Western GOM Lease Sale in August

More than 21 million acres offshore Texas, all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Planning Area, are to be offered in a federal oil and natural gas lease sale in August.

Lease Sale 246 includes 4,000 blocks covering roughly 21.8 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore in water depths of 16 feet to more than 10,975 feet (5-3,346 meters). The proposed lease sale could result in 116-200 million bbl of oil production and 538-938 Bcf of natural gas output, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said.

"As one of the most productive basins in the world, the Gulf of Mexico remains a critical component of the administration's domestic energy strategy to create jobs, foster economic opportunities and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil," said BOEM Director Abigail Hopper. "The decision to move forward with plans for this lease sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment and consideration of the best scientific information available."

The sale would be the eighth offshore sale under the Obama administration's five-year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017. The sale builds on six already held that have netted almost $2.4 billion. The seventh GOM sale, Central Planning Area Sale 235, is scheduled for March 18 (see Daily GPI, Feb. 6).

The proposed terms of the sale include conditions to ensure "orderly resource development and protection of the human, marine and coastal environments," officials said. "These include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species and avoid potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development in the region."

BOEM's proposed economic terms include the "same range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers as used in previous sales." The terms and conditions outlined for Sale 246 are not final. Different terms and conditions may be employed in the final sale notice, which is to be published at least one month before the sale.

All terms and conditions for Western Sale 246 are detailed in the proposed sale information package, which was published Monday in the Federal Register. Copies are available also from the GOM Region's Public Information Unit, 1201 Elmwood Park Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70123, or by calling (800) 200-4853.

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