NOIA submits joint comments on OCS leasing program

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, D.C.NOIA President Randall Luthi has issued the following statement regarding joint trade comments submitted on the 2017-2022 outer continental shelf (OCS) oil and gas leasing proposed program:

“In support of the thousands of men and women working daily to provide sustainable, reasonably-priced and reliable energy for our nation, NOIA submitted joint comments today on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) 2017-2022 OCS oil and gas leasing proposed program, calling for sustained sales in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico and in the Alaskan Arctic. NOIA joined the American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America, International Association of Drilling Contractors, U.S. Oil and Gas Association, American Exploration & Production Council, International Association of Drilling Contractors, International Association of Geophysical Contractors, Petroleum Equipment and Services Association, and the Alaska Oil and Gas Association to urge BOEM to stay the course and not lose sight of what energy security means to our country. 

“While other nations are actively pursuing their offshore oil and natural gas opportunities, federal policies in the US have closed over 85% of America’s offshore areas to exploration activities. Currently, we don’t have an accurate assessment of our own offshore oil and gas resource potential and under the limited current plan, we can’t even look. It is important that we not back-track any further on our energy future.  With the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic already excluded, the current proposed program is truly a quarter of the loaf option; it is vital that the final program is not reduced to mere crumbs.

“It appears the administration was unduly swayed by ‘keep it in the ground’ rhetoric when it removed the proposed Atlantic sale from the proposed program earlier this year.  Instead of heeding the majority of residents in Atlantic states, stakeholder groups across a wide array of industries, various state and local elected officials, and the longstanding bipartisan and bicameral support in Congress for offshore development, the administration opted to appease a vocal and misinformed minority for what appears to be purely political reasons. If the administration makes the same mistake with the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska OCS lease sales, we run the strong risk of forfeiting the economic opportunities and energy security of our country. 

“Today’s comments lay out a sound economic and scientific case for continued energy and economic development.  For example, for generations the Gulf of Mexico has fostered a healthy relationship between energy development and a thriving fishing, tourism, and military-based economy.  Contrary to the claims of environmentalists, real life experience shows that these activities are not mutually exclusive. In addition, the Alaskan Arctic may hold great future potential, but we won’t know if we can’t look. Many of those calling to drop the Alaskan Arctic sales cite the need for more studies and scientific information. They fail to recognize that millions of dollars have been spent by oil and natural gas companies on research and monitoring activities in the Arctic, providing new information about environmental conditions, wildlife and species vital the people of northern Alaska.  Ending leasing opportunities in the Alaskan Arctic also ends this source of Arctic research and monitoring.

“In light of the short-sighted Atlantic decision and what is at stake in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, it is crucially important that the administration supports a robust offshore leasing program as part of an ‘all-the-above’ energy approach.  The world’s energy needs are only expected to grow. While non-traditional forms of energy, such as wind and solar are expected to produce more energy, this will not be able to meet the expected demand. Keeping all the sales in the proposed program without further restriction will foster a diverse and dynamic energy portfolio that assures stability, economic security, and revenue to states and the federal government.”

06/16/2016

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