CERAWeek 2015: Federal lease sale plans could be reduced

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – The current US federal five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing could see cuts in sales before it is finalized, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told attendees at CERAWeek 2015.

The current leasing plan, unveiled in January, lists 14 lease sales in eight of the 26 possible offshore planning areas from 2017 to 2022, including a possible sale off the US East Coast. The plan excludes the Pacific, Florida and includes three sales in federal waters offshore Alaska.

During a news conference at the annual IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, Jewell indicated the plan may change before it is proposed and finalized by 2016, but those changes would only bring reductions; Interior will not consider more sales than those already proposed.

Jewell said Interior did not include many of the offshore areas such as the Pacific Coast and much of the Atlantic, due to limited agency resources and opposition from states. In addition, it made “no sense” to include the eastern Gulf of Mexico in the plan since the area is under a congressional moratorium until 2022.


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