The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has finalized a lease sale scheduled for Aug. 19 to offer almost 22 million acres offshore Texas for oil and natural gas exploration and development. All available unleased areas would be offered in the Western Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Planning Area sale (see Daily GPI, March 3). Sale 246 is to include 4,083 blocks that cover roughly 21.9 million acres. The blocks are in waters nine to 250 nautical miles offshore, in depths 16 to 10,975 feet-plus. An estimated 538-938 Bcf of natural gas and 116-200 million bbl of oil could be produced on the acreage, according to federal estimates. The sale, to be held in New Orleans, would be the eighth sale under the Obama Administration’s five-year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017. The sales to date have offered more than 60 million acres and netted nearly $2.9 billion for taxpayers. Terms of the final notice of sale package may be requested from the GOM Region’s Public Information Unit, 1201 Elmwood Park Blvd., New Orleans, 70123, or at (800) 200-GULF (4853).

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has been awarded the first geological and geophysical permit to ARKeX Ltd. to conduct an aerial mapping search over the Atlantic Ocean. The survey would acquire an airborne broadband gravity and magnetic survey over the Outer Continental Shelf blocks offshore the East Coast. The system uses a full tensor gradiometer to remotely map geological structures, potentially revealing the location of untapped oil and gas reserves (see Daily GPI, July 15). The company expects its planes to begin collecting data by the end of the year, with a mapping of the region taking up to eight months. Permits to allow seismic surveys of the Atlantic by separate companies remain in the queue for approval.