BOEM Moving Ahead With Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale
NEW ORLEANS — Federal regulators with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management are moving ahead with a Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale despite the fact it remains the subject of ongoing litigation.
At present, the plan is to conduct it on Wednesday, Nov. 8.
The bureau will open bids that morning for blocks offered in the Gulf of Mexico, in accordance with the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and its implementing regulations.
The revised sale will include blocks that were subject to court orders stemming from two court cases.
Pursuant to the direction of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Lease Sale 261 will offer approximately 13,618 blocks on 72.7 million acres in the U.S. outer continental shelf in the western, central and eastern planning areas in the Gulf of Mexico.
The court directed the agency to include lease blocks that were previously excluded due to potential impacts to the Rice’s whale population from oil and gas activities in the Gulf, and to remove portions of a related stipulation meant to address those potential impacts from the lease terms for any leases that may result from Lease Sale 261.
Bids will be accepted by mail only through any parcel delivery service (FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, DHL), prior to the bid submission deadline, at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70123.
Public bid reading for GOM Lease Sale 261 will be held at the aforementioned address.
The venue will not be open to the general public, media or industry during bid opening or reading. Bid opening will be available for public viewing on the agency’s website via livestreaming video beginning at 9:00 a.m. on the day of the sale.
The results will be posted on BOEM’s website upon completion of bid opening and reading.
The agency was originally scheduled to hold Lease Sale 261 on Sept. 27, but put it on hold after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered an expansion of acreage being offered after BOEM earlier reduced the area in an effort to protect an endangered whale species.
“The order allows time for a more orderly lease sale process,” BOEM said of the delay.
Later that month, after the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled the sale should go forward, Ryan Meyers, general counsel for the American Petroleum Institute, applauded the rule, saying it “hit the brakes” on the Biden administration’s “ill-conceived effort to restrict American development of reliable, lower-carbon energy in the Gulf of Mexico.”
“This decision is an important step toward greater certainty for American energy workers, a more robust Gulf Coast economy and a stronger future for U.S. energy security,” Meyers said.