Sale includes more than 72.7 million acres; auction had been postponed due to legal disputes over the impact of drilling in the area

The US will hold an auction for oil and gas concessions in the Gulf of Mexico this Thursday (Dec 20, 2023), after postponements due to legal disputes over the impact of drilling in the area. This is the last opportunity for energy companies to submit bids until 2025. The information is from Reuters.

The US Ocean Energy Management Agency will conduct the auction via an online broadcast starting at 10 a.m. EDT.

The sale includes more than 72.7 million acres on the Outer Continental Shelf. This also includes 6 million acres previously designated for protected habitat for the rice whale, a threatened species, but withdrawn by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The expanded sale was authorized by a federal judge in response to lawsuits filed by oil and gas companies.

US President Joe Biden has sought to restrict new contracts for oil and gas exploration as part of his administration’s agenda to address climate change. But a new federal law made the concession for offshore wind power conditional on the inclusion of drilling rights for oil and gas.

The Biden administration sees wind energy development as crucial to decarbonizing the US energy sector. The sale will be made just days after the United States and nearly 200 other nations agreed to begin reducing fossil fuel consumption at COP28 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.


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