Last week, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held its first live-streamed offshore oil and gas lease sale.
The Bureau of Land Management issued a rule on Tuesday announcing that agency’s intention to hold online lease sales for oil and gas drilling, starting in September.
The agency’s first online lease sale will be Sept. 20, offering 4,398 acres of land in Kentucky and Mississippi, the agency said. Congress gave the agency the authority to hold the auctions online, rather than in person, in an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015.
The agency “believes that online sales have the potential to generate greater competition by making participation easier, which has the potential to increase bonus bids,” it said in its announcement.
The rule, which formalizes the plan to hold online lease sales, takes effect immediately. It doesn’t require a public comment period because it only restates language from the NDAA legislation and only changes the agency’s own operations.
The decision is part of a broader push by lawmakers to move onshore and offshore lease sales online rather than in person. The possibility of attracting more bids is one reason for such a shift. Another is that it stops anti-fossil fuel protesters from disrupting lease sales.