First oil and gas leases subject to US–Mexico transboundary agreement awardedNews // June 2, 2014
As part of President Obama’s 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy to continue to expand domestic energy production, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank recently announced the award of the first three oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico boundary area subject to the US-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement.
The Transboundary Agreement removes uncertainties regarding development of transboundary resources in the Gulf of Mexico. As a result of the agreement, nearly 1.5 million additional acres of the US Outer Continental Shelf will now be made more accessible for exploration and production activities.
Estimates by the Department of the Interior’s BOEM indicate this area contains as much as 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
“With the agreement now in full force, we can make additional oil and gas along the resource-rich boundary between the US and Mexico available and we have a clear process by which both governments can provide the necessary oversight to ensure exploration and development activities are conducted safely and responsibly,” said Secretary Jewell. “These leases represent a significant step forward in US-Mexico cooperation in energy production and pave the way for future energy and environmental collaboration.”
The three leases were awarded to Exxon Mobil Corporation, which submitted bids for the blocks located or partially located within three statute miles of the maritime and continental shelf boundary with Mexico (the US - Mexico Transboundary Area) at Western Planning Area Sale 233, which was held in August, 2013.
Congress approved the agreement in December 2013, and was signed into law by the President on December 26. BOEM opened the three sealed bids, totaling US$21,333,850, during the Eastern and Central Planning Area Sales held on March 19, 2014.
The leases are located in the Alaminos Canyon Area, approximately 170 miles east of Port Isabel, Texas, and will be subject to the terms of the Agreement when it becomes effective on July 18, 2014.