To remind, the Biden administration had paused all oil and gas leasing activities on federal lands and waters in January, citing climate crisis. A federal judge in Louisiana in June then ordered the resumption of oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters.
Announcing the upcoming Gulf of Mexico lease sale on Thursday, BOEM said that the Biden Harris Administration “is continuing its comprehensive review of the deficiencies associated with its offshore and onshore oil and gas leasing programs.”
Lease Sale 257, planned to be live-streamed from New Orleans, will be the eighth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Lease Sale 257 will include approximately 15,135 unleased blocks located from 3 to 231 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico with water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 feet (3 to 3,400 meters).
According to BOEM, the Gulf of Mexico offshore continental shelf, covering about 160 million acres, is estimated to contain about 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas.
BOEM said it would include lease stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts between oil and gas development and other activities and users in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fiscal terms include a 12.5% royalty rate for leases in less than 200 meters of water depth and a royalty rate of 18.75% for all other leases issued pursuant to the sale.