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BOEM Schedules Eastern Gulf Lease Sale

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Tuesday said it plans to hold an oil and natural gas lease sale in March for portions of the eastern Gulf of Mexico (GOM), the first sale to be held in the offshore area in five years.

BOEM estimated that Lease Sale 225 could result in the production of 710 million bbl of oil and 162 Bcf of natural gas.

Proposed Sale 225 is the first proposed for the eastern GOM under the 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing program, and the first sale offering acreage in the area since Sale 224, which was held in March 2008 (see Daily GPI, Oct. 31, 2007).

The proposed sale includes 134 whole or partial unleased blocks covering about 465,200 acres in the eastern planning area, which is south of eastern Alabama and western Florida. Drilling off the Florida coast still is banned.

Of the blocks offered in the sale, 93 are in the same area offered in the 2008 lease sale and are subject to revenue sharing under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, which provides that the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas share in 37.5% of the bonus payments, and share in 37.5% of the future revenues generated from the leases.

The remaining 41 blocks, located just south of that area, are not subject to revenue sharing, BOEM noted.

In December 2006, President Bush signed into law legislation that opened part of the eastern GOM to leasing and development for the first time in years (see Daily GPI, Dec. 27, 2006). It gives four coastal states a share of the federal royalties to be used in restoring their receding coastal areas. It's been estimated that the four Gulf Coast states -- Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama --  will receive a total of $170 billion in revenues from drilling in the eastern GOM region over a 60-year period.

Lease Sale 225 will occur on March 19 immediately following the proposed central GOM Sale 231, according to the bureau. The notice of the availability of the proposed notice of sale can be viewed in the Wednesday edition of the Federal Register. All proposed terms and conditions for Lease Sale 225 will be finalized when the final notice of sale is published at least 30 days prior to the sale.

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