IADC Finds Recent Appeals Decisions Regarding Lease Sale 261 Encouraging

IADC Finds Recent Appeals Decisions Regarding Lease Sale 261 Encouraging

For Immediate Release

Houston (28 September 2023) – IADC is pleased to see the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent affirmation of last week’s District Court ruling addressing the Department of the Interior’s Rice’s Whale restrictions imposed on Lease Sale 261 in the Gulf of Mexico. The appeals court decision extended the deadline for Lease Sale 261 from September 27 to November 8 and issued an order in which the Interior Department must reinstate the 6 million acres it sought to exclude from the bidding process.

IADC President Jason McFarland commented, “These recent decisions are encouraging. Industry stakeholders see no manner in which 6 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico can be entirely removed from leasing consideration without following proper procedures, including customary public consultation. IADC will continue to work with other upstream stakeholders to facilitate an appropriate resolution to the DOI’s arbitrary actions.”


Lease Sale 261 is the last of the congressionally imposed oil and gas lease sales for 2023 via the Inflation Reduction Act issued last year. In August, the DOI abruptly removed 6 million acres from its Final Record of Decision for the upcoming sale of offshore Gulf of Mexico areas and imposed operational constraints in the subject area under the pretext of protecting the Rice’s Whale. This action was taken without due regard for existing legislative and administrative instruments that otherwise ensure a measured and reasonable assessment of offshore environmental risks and other considerations.


The International Association Drilling Contractors (IADC) is a non-profit trade association that is the global leader in advancing and promoting innovative technology and safe practices that bring oil and gas to the world’s consumers. More information.