The Minerals Management Service (MMS) issued a final notice of Western Gulf Lease Sale 196 scheduled for Aug. 17. Sale 196 will include 3,762 unleased blocks covering 20.3 million acres offshore Texas and Louisiana and could result in the production of 136-262 million bbl of oil and 0.81-1.44 Tcf of natural gas. The blocks are located five to 357 kilometers offshore in water depths ranging from eight to 3,100 meters. MMS has increased base rental rates from $5.00 to $6.25 per acre for blocks in water depths of less than 200 meters and from $7.50 to $9.50 per acre for blocks in water depths of 200 meters or deeper, reflecting inflationary adjustments. MMS also warned bidders that an application from Beacon Port LLC for the licensing of a deepwater LNG port in the Western Gulf of Mexico has been received by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration. The proposed LNG facility will affect certain blocks in the High Island and West Cameron Areas.

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