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MMS alters Gulf of Mexico oil lease rules

Feb. 7, 2008 at 9:33 PM

HOUSTON, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Minerals Management Service will offer credits to lessees who give up eligible leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

In proposed amendment to regulations, MMS will also define eligible leases and determine how credits may be used, Houston-based Energy Current reported.

"The amendment will allow for an efficient exchange of the leases for credit and help to promote the oil and gas operators' continued development of energy production in the Gulf of Mexico," said MMS Director Randall Luthi.

The amendment was mandated by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which set a moratorium on oil and gas leasing and related activity in the Eastern Planning Area within 125 miles of the Florida coastline and part of the Central Planning Area within 100 miles of the Florida coastline until Jun. 30, 2022.

The proposed change would provide the same credit as the original bonus bid plus subsequent rental payments to lessees who give up leases within the specified area.

MMS will be accepting comments on this ruling for the next 60 days.

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