U.S. SAYS $133.8M IN HIGH BIDS OFFERED IN GULF LEASE SALE

(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by The U.S. Department of the Interior and received via
electronic mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.) 
November 28, 2012 
Obama Administration Offers Over 20 Million Acres in Western
Gulf of Mexico for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development 
Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale Yields $133.8 Million in High
Bids on Over 652,520 Acres, Only Latest in a Series of Recent
Major Offshore Oil and Gas Sales 
NEW ORLEANS -- As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above
energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible
domestic energy production, the Department of the Interior’s
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today held Western Gulf of
Mexico Lease Sale 229, which offered over 20 millions acres and
attracted $133,767,074 in high bids for 116 tracts covering
652,522 acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore
Texas. A total of 13 offshore energy companies submitted 131
bids. The Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale builds on two major
Gulf of Mexico lease sales in the past year alone, a 21 million
acre sale held last December and a 39 million acre sale held in
June. 
“At President Obama’s direction, his Administration continues to
implement a comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy strategy,
expanding domestic production, reducing our dependence on
foreign oil, and supporting jobs,” said Interior Secretary Ken
Salazar. “Developing public energy resources in the Gulf of
Mexico continues to generate much needed revenue for local
communities while helping to power our nation and fuel our
economy.” 
Lease Sale 229 offered more than 20 million acres for oil and
gas development on the OCS and supports the Administration’s
goal of continuing to increase domestic oil and gas production,
which has grown each year the President has been in office, with
domestic oil production in 2011 higher than any time in nearly a
decade and natural gas production at its highest level ever.
Foreign oil imports now account for less than 50 percent of the
oil consumed in America - the lowest level since 1995. 
Today’s lease sale offered all unleased areas in the Western
Gulf of Mexico planning area, including 3,873 tracts from nine
to more than 250 miles off the coast, in depths ranging from 16
to more than 10,975 feet (five to 3,346 meters). BOEM estimates
the lease sale could result in the production of 116 to 200
million barrels of oil and 538 to 938 billion cubic feet of
natural gas. 
Today’s sale was the first under the Administration’s new Outer
Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017
(Five Year Program), which makes available for exploration and
development all of the offshore areas with the highest
conventional resource potential that together include more than
75 percent of the Nation’s undiscovered, technically recoverable
offshore oil and gas resources. BOEM also recently announced
that the next Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale, proposed Lease
Sale 227, will take place on March 20, 2013, making 38 million
acres available offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. 
“This offshore oil and gas lease sale is part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy and supports continued growth in safe and
responsible domestic oil and gas production,” said BOEM Director
Tommy P. Beaudreau, who opened this morning’s sale. “This is the
first sale under the President’s Five Year Program, in which we
are making available all of the offshore areas with the highest
conventional resource potential for exploration and
development.” 
Today’s highest bid on a single tract was $17,221,317, submitted
by Chevron U.S.A., Inc. for East Breaks Block 546. Chevron
U.S.A., Inc. submitted the highest total amount in bonus bids,
totaling $56,031,0991 on 28 tracts. 
BOEM received at least one bid within the 3 statute mile
boundary area north of the continental shelf boundary between
the United States and Mexico. Any bids submitted on blocks in
the area will not be opened until on or before 30 days following
the approval by the U.S. Congress of the agreement between the
U.S. and Mexico or May 31, 2013, at which time the Secretary of
the Interior may determine whether it is in the best interest of
the United States either to open any such bids or to return the
bid unopened. 
BOEM established the terms for this sale after extensive
environmental analysis, public comment and consideration of the
best scientific information available. These terms include
measures to protect the environment, such as stipulations
requiring that operators protect biologically sensitive features
and provide trained observers to monitor marine mammals and sea
turtles to ensure compliance and restrict operations when
conditions warrant. 
The terms also continue a range of incentives to encourage
diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers,
including an increased minimum bid for deepwater tracts,
escalating rental rates and tiered durational terms with
relatively short base periods followed by additional time under
the same lease if the operator drills a well during the initial
period. 
Following the sale, each bid will now go through a strict
evaluation process within BOEM to ensure the public receives
fair market value before a lease is awarded. Sale statistics for
Sale 229 are available at: http://www.boem.gov/Sale-229. 
Contact: Blake Androff (DOI) 202-208-6416
John Filostrat (BOEM) 504-731-7815 
(bjh) NY 
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