API pushes for extended offshore drilling in U.S.

American Petroleum Institute (API) has called for the maximum offshore acreage allowed to be offered in Department of Interior’s 2017-2022 five year lease plan.

Speaking ahead of a public hearing in Washington D.C., held to discuss the proposed offshore lease plan, API CEO Erik Milito said the significance of development of the available oil and gas resources in the proposed areas cannot be overlooked.

Back in March, the Obama administration put the offshore exploration acreage in the Atlantic off limits for offshore exploration, citing market dynamics, strong local opposition and conflicts with competing commercial and military ocean uses.

The draft proposal had envisioned a sale late in the Program at least 50 miles offshore the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia in a portion of the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Planning Areas.

In a statement on Tuesday API expressed its disappointment with the withdrawal of the Atlantic ares from the proposed lease sale.

Milito said: “Unfortunately, and despite strong statewide public support for offshore development in North Carolina (64 percent), South Carolina (67 percent) and Virginia (65 percent), the proposed program does not call for expanded development off the Atlantic Coast.”

The API CEO then called for the administration not to make further reduction in the proposed areas for offshore exploration.
Interior Department’s proposed lease sale includes 13 potential lease sales in six planning areas – 10 potential sales in the Gulf of Mexico and three potential sales off the coast of Alaska.

“The administration should not exclude additional areas or reduce the number of proposed lease sales. Too many promising areas, like the Atlantic, are already excluded, taking off the table hundreds of thousands of potential jobs and tens of billions of dollars in government revenue that more forward-looking policy would support,” Milito said.

He said that increase in U.S. production have dramatically increased the nations resistance to energy shocks, but added that the country’s long-term energy security can only be ensured with a lasting commitment to expanding offshore oil and natural gas development to new areas.

“The Obama administration should carefully consider America’s long-term energy needs because these decisions will impact the availability of affordable energy for American consumers and the country’s national security for decades to come.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff