US to auction 20 million acres in Gulf of Mexico for oil, gas exploration

KUNA | NOVEMBER 28, 2012

The Obama administration on Tuesday announced it would auction off 20 million acres in the Western Gulf of Mexico for oil and natural gas exploration.

On Wednesday, New Orleans hosts Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 229, announced by the US Department of Interior in October. Up for auction are 141 blocks, compared to the 626 put up for sale in December 2011.

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimated the lease sale could lead to the production of more than 116 million barrels of oil and more than 538 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The sale is the first under the Obama administration’s new five year offshore leasing plan. Fifteen lease sales are scheduled under the 2012-17 lease program, including four Western Gulf lease sales, according to US government data.

“At President Obama’s direction, his Administration continues to implement a comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy strategy, expanding domestic production, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and supporting jobs,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “Developing public energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico continues to generate much needed revenue for local communities while helping to power our nation and fuel our economy.”