Majority of US oil, gas leases lie idle

Back to Gulf of Mexico News page

WASHINGTON, DC, March 29, 2021 (ENS) - Roughly 70 percent of offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and more than half of onshore leases on federal lands remain idle, neither producing nor under active exploration and development by companies who hold those leases, a new government report shows.

The report was requested by President Barack Obama on March 11 and released today by the Department of the Interior.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, “We continue to support safe and responsible domestic energy production, and as this report shows millions of acres that have already been leased to industry for oil and gas productions sit idle.”

“These are resources that belong to the American people, and they expect those supplies to be developed in a timely and responsible manner and with a fair return to taxpayers,” Salazar said.

“As we continue to offer new areas onshore and offshore for leasing, as we have done over the last two years, we will also be exploring ways to provide incentives to companies to bring production online quickly and safely,” the secretary said.

Information compiled by the Interior Department’s Office of Policy Analysis from the U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement show that the department offered “substantial acreage for potential oil and gas development in 2009 and 2010 that was not subsequently leased by bidding parties.”

In the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico, some 53 million acres were offered for lease in 2009, of which 2.7 million acres were bid on and sold.

In the Central Gulf, 37 million acres were offered in 2010, of which 2.4 million acres were bid on and sold, the report shows.

Source: Environment News Service