“Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank today announced that BOEM will offer 78 million acres for a region-wide lease sale scheduled for March 2019", the release said on Wednesday.
The sale would include all available un-leased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Interior Department explained.
“[U]nder the program, ten region-wide lease sales are scheduled for the Gulf… Two Gulf lease sales will be held each year and include all available blocks in the combined Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas", the release said.
US crude oil output is expected to jump by more than 11 percent to 12.1 million barrels per day (bpd), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed in a December report.
The Trump administration has announced plans to open nearly all of American waters off the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts to energy exploration and drilling.
The United States faced a large-scale oil leak in April 2010 after an explosion at the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling for BP. The leak resulted in an ecological disaster and was stopped only in August, prior to which nearly 5 million barrels of oil were spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. According to BP, losses from the accident amounted to $61.1 billion.