The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has again postponed a Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale following an earlier decision by an appeals court that halted the process.

BOEM said on Nov. 2 that it was delaying Lease Sale 261 as a result of an Oct. 26 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The sale was initially scheduled for Sept. 27 and later reset for Nov. 8 due to judicial orders. 

With that sale’s timeline disrupted, and until the court rules, “BOEM cannot be certain of which areas or stipulations may be included in the sale notice,” the agency said on Nov. 2.

BOEM said potential bidders for Lease Sale 261 should not submit bids until the agency provides additional instruction. The bureau will hold any bids already received and will hold the sale after it receives further direction from the appeals court.


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West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, blamed the Biden Administration for the postponement.

“I also want to express my frustration that just this morning, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that it would again delay the Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 261, despite the director testifying before this committee one week ago that “All systems are go” to hold the lease sale on November 8,” Manchin said. “BOEM is once again blaming the courts for delaying the sale, but the delays are entirely the Administration’s fault. The Department of the Interior was so eager to meet the demands of environmental groups to restrict the sale that it bypassed important legal requirements leading to this litigation.”