API: Excluding Virginia from U.S. offshore drilling plans would be shortsighted

Miles Morin, executive director of the Virginia Petroleum Council, a division of American Petroleum Institute, a body representing U.S. oil and natural gas industry, said that the potential exclusion of Virginia from the U.S. offshore drilling plans would be a shortsighted move.

To remind, Virginia’s Governor McAuliffe last week said it had sent a letter to the Trump administration last week asking that Virginia be excluded from the U.S. 2019-2024 offshore oil and gas leasing plan due to a lack of a proper revenue sharing plan.

In his letter, sent the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, McAuliffe said that president Donald Trump’s recent proposal to end the GOMESA revenue sharing agreement with the Gulf States (Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana) was an indication that the President cannot be trusted “to give Virginia its fair share of revenues that would result from offshore exploration.” He than asked that Virginia be dropped from the offshore leasing plans.

However, Virginia Petroleum Council’s Miles Morin feels the exclusion of Virginia would not be a smart move.

He said: “It’s high time Virginians felt the benefits of harnessing our state’s vast energy resources. As the Governor has previously stated, safe and responsible energy development off the coast of Virginia would bring millions, and potentially hundreds of millions, of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs to the Commonwealth.

“We support necessary environmental protections and state revenue sharing from energy development and stand ready to work with Governor McAuliffe and the Virginia Congressional delegation to make safe offshore development a reality for Virginia consumers and workers through the next five-year plan.

“Shutting Virginia off to this economic engine would be short-sighted. The existing Hampton Roads port has the infrastructure, skilled workers, and maritime industries like shipbuilding and engineering, which can benefit Virginia consumers and workers, help strengthen our national security and provide the American energy our nation demands.”

Additional support for offshore energy development was given by industrial groups across the state that also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management urging the agency to allow for more leasing, exploration, and development of potential U.S. offshore oil and natural gas resources.

Signed by a total of 97 organizations, the letter said: “Throughout the country, many sectors of our nation’s economy will reap the positive benefits of abundant energy sources. Businesses small and large will see new opportunities and will help create additional jobs. In addition, a robust domestic energy policy will support stable energy prices, help meet the anticipated rising energy demand, bring in additional government revenues and strengthen our energy and national security.

“We hope that the 2019-2024 Five-Year Offshore Leasing Program will allow us to realize the full potential that domestic offshore oil and natural gas, as part of a true all-of-the-above energy policy, can bring to the country.”

This coalition letter is in addition to recent letters sent by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Manufacturers Association supporting offshore energy development in Virginia.

Barry DuVal, president and CEO of Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said in his letter: “In response to the request for information on the development of the federal government’s 2019-2024 offshore oil and gas leasing program, I write to convey my strong support for developing a new leasing plan and urge the inclusion of all Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) planning areas in the development of the Draft Proposed Program (DPP).

“The Virginia Chamber of Commerce, representing over 26,000 businesses in the Commonwealth, believes a balanced, sustainable energy policy is essential to support economic development and job growth while meeting the growing needs of our population and the business community.”

Brett Vassey, CEO of Virginia’s Manufacturers Association, said: “Opening up the Atlantic not only makes sense from an economic and national security perspective, it also makes sense for our environment.

“As the Obama administration itself noted in 2016, in addition to losing out on as much as $37 billion in incremental net benefits, foregoing the previously proposed Mid- and South Atlantic lease sale could cause between $1.6 billion and $2.9 billion in negative incremental environmental and social costs, primarily due to greater reliance on other sources of energy.”


Offshore Energy Today Staff