Lease sales for oil and natural gas exploration and production in the U.S.' Gulf of Mexico have been scheduled for March 18, 2020, the country's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced in a statement.
As part of the U.S. President Donald Trump's America First Offshore Energy Strategy, BOEM said it would offer over 78 million acres (0.31 million square kilometers) for sale of leases in the region.
This will be the sixth offshore sale under the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, which includes a total of ten lease sales for the U.S.' Gulf of Mexico region. It will include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the U.S.' Gulf of Mexico, according to Tuesday's statement.
'Record domestic offshore oil and gas production in 2019 has played a vital role in President Trump’s vision for American energy independence,' U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in the statement.
'A strong and safe offshore energy program fuels the American economy, provides thousands of good paying jobs and delivers affordable and reliable energy for everyday use,' he added.
The holding of two lease sales are scheduled each year for the region, and include all available blocks in the western, central and eastern Gulf of Mexico areas.
'The Gulf of Mexico continues to be one of the most productive basins in the world and is an essential part of our Nation’s domestic energy portfolio,' Director of BOEM’s New Orleans office Mike Celata said in the statement.
Crude oil production in the U.S.' Federal Gulf of Mexico averaged 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018, setting a new annual record, according to data from the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA), which was approximately 16.4% of the average 10.99 million bpd of total U.S. production that year.
Annual crude oil production in the U.S.' Gulf of Mexico is estimated to increase to an average of 1.9 million bpd in 2019 and 2 million bpd in 2020, according to the EIA.
By Ovunc Kutlu