The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for a series of five oil and gas lease sales tentatively scheduled for 2012-2017 in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico (GOM) planning areas.

Included in the proposed “Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2012-2017” are tentative plans for Western Planning Area Lease Sales 229, 233, 238, 246 and 248 and Central Planning Area Lease Sales 227, 231, 235, 241 and 247 offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

“The draft environmental impact statement evaluates baseline conditions and potential environmental effects of oil and natural gas leasing, exploration, development and production in the Western and Central Gulf,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau.

BOEM is to begin accepting comments on the DEIS following the publication date of a notice of availability in the Federal Register. Comments can be e-mailed to multisaleEIS@boem.gov or mailed to: Comments on the Draft Multisale EIS, Gary D. Goeke, Regional Assessment Section, Office of Environmental (MS 5410), BOEM, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Blvd., New Orleans, LA, 70123-2394.

BOEM has also scheduled public hearings on the DEIS at the Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston Jan. 10; at the BOEM offices in New Orleans Jan. 11; and at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort, AL, Jan. 12.

ConocoPhillips in mid-December bid $103.2 million for a tract in the western GOM, making it the highest bidder in the first auction held by the federal government in the region since the Macondo well blowout in 2010 (see Daily GPI, Dec. 15, 2011). Sale 218, the last remaining sale in the Western Gulf Planning Areas in the 2007-2012 Outer Continental Shelf leasing program, attracted a total of $337.7 million in high bids and included 20 companies submitting 241 bids on 191 tracts comprising more than one million acres offshore Texas in the areas of Matagorda Island, Brazos, Galveston, High Island, West Cameron, East Breaks, Garden Banks, Alaminos Canyon and Keathley Canyon, BOEM said.

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