Draft environmental impact statement, proposed oil and gas lease sales 94, 98, and 102.
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The proposed action for Sale 98 offers for lease all unleased blocks within the Central Gulf of Mexico, consisting of approximatley 32.7 million acres (6,062 blocks). These blocks are located from 3-220 miles offshore and in water depths ranging from 4 m to over 3,200 m. The proposed action for Sale 102 offers for lease all unleased blocks within the Western gulf of Mexico with the exception of Blocks A-398 and A-375 in the High Island Area, East Addition, South Extension (11,520 acres). These blocks were deferred from Sale 102 by the Department due to their sensitivity and in order to afford the maximum protection to the coral reef and biota thereon. The proposed area will consist of approximately 30.6 million acres or 6,368 blocks. These blocks are located from 9-220 miles offshore and in water depths ranging from 8 m to over 3,000 m. The proposed action for Sale 94 offers for lease all unleased blocks within the Eastern Gulf of Mexico with the exception of the following deferred areas (1.5 million acres): 23 blocks in the Florida Middle Ground; 186 blocks containing seagrass beds; and 99 blocks within the 20 m isobath zone, south of 26 degrees N latitude. The deferrals respond to concerns expressed by the state of Florida and to Congressional direction contained in the Department's appropriation legislation for FY 84 concerning the Eastern Gulf. The proposed area will consist of approximately 56.2 million acres or 9,902 blocks. These blocks are located from 9-270 miles offshore and in water depths ranging from less than 6 m to over 3,000 m. These three proposals are discussed with the biological, cultural resources, transportation (Eastern Gulf only) and military area stipulations being considered for adoption as mitigating measures. Basic assumptions, estimates, and development scenarios for impact analyses of the proposed OCS oil and gas development are presented in Section IV.A. Basically, two development scenarios provided a quantitative and locational framework for the impact analyses. The Most Likely Find Scenario (M Scenario) is the focus of the impact analyses for the proposed 1985 OCS sales (the proposed actions and alternatives), while the Total Find Scenario (T Scenario) is used in conjuction with the analyses of potential cumulative impacts. Further, it is assumed that hydrocarbon production in the Eastern Planning Area (EPA) will be transported by new pipelines to onshore locations in Florida and possibly Alabama and Mississippi, with oil production being transshipped from onshore marine terminals to processing refineries in the Central coastal area. In the Central Planning Area (CPA), new hydrocarbon transportation pipelines will be connected to the existing transmission system for hydrocarbon transportation to onshore processing facilities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and possibly Texas. In the Western Planning Area (WPA), new hydrocarbon transportation pipelines will be connected to the existing transmission system for hydrocarbon transportation to onshore processing facilities in Texas and Louisiana. As a result of Sale 94, the use of up to four (0-4) new service bases in support of exploratory drilling, development/production activity, and pipeline installation are estimated. The use of possible one (0-1) existing gas processing/treatment facility (constructed as a result of Sale 79 or development in state waters) and possibly one (0-1) new marine and (0-1) new barge terminal facility is estimated. Onshore support services and facilities for offshore drilling and production operations resulting from Sale 98 are estimated to be provided almost entirely from existing locations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas; however, there may be a need for one new service base. Offshore drilling and production operations resulting from Sale 102 are estimated to be supported almost entirely from existing facilities located in Texas and Louisiana coastal areas.