The U.S. Department of the Interior will offer 73 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) in a proposed region-wide lease sales, Interior Secretary Ryan Zink said in a March 6 statement.

The lease sales are under a new five-year program that will include all available areas in federal waters offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The first sale, Lease Sale 249, is scheduled for August and will include about 13,725 unleased blocks, located from three miles to 230 miles offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern planning areas in water depths ranging from 3 m to 3,400 m (9 ft to more than 11,115 ft).

The sales could potentially result in 1.2% to 4.2% of the forecasted cumulative U.S. Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activity in the GoM, the Interior Department said. Most of the activity (up to 83% of future production) of the proposed lease sales is expected to occur in the Central Planning Area.

“Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy-independent,” Zinke said. “The Gulf is a vital part of that strategy to spur economic opportunities for industry, states and local communities, to create jobs and home-grown energy and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Lease Sale 239 is scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans on Aug. 16.

The estimated amount of resources projected to be developed as a result of the proposed region-wide lease sales ranges from 0.211 billion barrels (bbl) to 1.118 billion bbl of oil and from 0.547 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) to 4.424 Tcf of gas.

The current five-year program [2012-2017] has one final Gulf lease sale scheduled on March 22 for Central Planning Area Sale 247. The 2012-2017 program offered about 73 million acres, netted more than $3 billion in high bids for American taxpayers and awarded more than 2,000 leases, the Interior Department said.