The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has proposed offering about 78 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico during a region-wide oil and gas lease sale in March 2020.

Spanning about 160 million acres, the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is estimated to contain about 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas, BOEM said in the release.

Lease Sale 254, the sixth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 OCS oil and gas leasing program, will include about 14,585 unleased blocks located from three to 231 miles offshore in the GoM’s western, central and eastern planning areas. Water depths range from three to 3,400 m (nine to more than 11,115 ft).

As with previous sales, Lease Sale 254 excludes blocks subject to the congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks adjacent to or beyond the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap; and whole blocks and partial blocks within the current boundaries of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Fiscal terms proposed for the sale include a 12.5% royalty rate for leases in water depths less than 200 m and a royalty rate of 18.75% for all other leases in the sale, BOEM said.

“Offshore energy development is about furthering America’s energy security, ensuring fair market value to the taxpayers, and producing domestic energy in an environmentally responsible manner,” Acting Assistant Secretary Casey Hammond said in the release. “We all benefit from a strong offshore energy program, which provides thousands of well-paying jobs, as well as affordable and reliable energy Americans need to heat homes, fuel our cars, and power our economy.”

Revenue— including high bids, rental payments and royalty payments—received from OCS leases are directed to the U.S. Treasury; certain Gulf Coast states including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama); the Land and Water Conservation Fun, and the Historic Preservation Fund.

All terms and conditions for the sale are in the Proposed Notice of Sale (PNOS) information package at Copies of the PNOS maps can be requested from the Gulf of Mexico Region’s Public Information Unit at 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70123, or at 800-200-GULF (4853).

The Notice of Availability of the PNOS will be available for inspection in the Federal Register at on Oct. 7 and will publish in the Federal Register on Oct. 8.