Interior Announces First Post-Macondo Lease Sale For Central Gulf

The Interior Department has set a June date for the next offshore oil and natural gas lease sale for the Gulf of Mexico.

The proposed sale includes nearly all available unleased areas in the Central Gulf of Mexico. Up for bidding are more than 7,000 blocks covering nearly 38 million acres. The blocks are located from three to 230 miles offshore in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,000 feet.

Kenneth Anderson is an energy attorney with Houston law firm Looper Reed & McGraw.

“This is actually the first sale of leases in the Macondo area — the first since the disaster, anyway. It’s the second in the Gulf of Mexico since then. There was actually a lease sale back in December of leases in the Western part of the Gulf. It’s a sign that things are returning, at least, closer to normal.”

The move received qualified praise from the Gulf Economic Survival Team, an offshore oil & gas trade group. In a prepared statement, executive director Lori LeBlanc said said the lease sales will create jobs and help move the country towards energy independence. But she said the key to both will be speeding up the granting of drilling permits.

Again, Kenneth Anderson.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to be very, very careful, and they will keep their attention very carefully fixed on all requests for permits, especially in deeper waters where a blowout is more difficult to control.”

The sale will take place in New Orleans on June 20.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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