NOIA president urges BOEM to hold Aug. 19 lease sale as scheduled

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management should ignore a call by groups to delay US Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale No. 246 and hold it on Aug. 19 as scheduled, National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall B. Luthi said.

The call to delay the Western Gulf of Mexico sale, where 4,083 blocks covering roughly 21.9 million acres will be offered, “shows how out of touch with energy reality and the American people some extremist environmental groups are,” he maintained on Aug. 14.

The sale is not expected to be momentous because crude oil prices are depressed and regulatory burdens have grown, conceded Luthi, who was director of the US Minerals Management Service, BOEM’s predecessor agency at the US Department of the Interior, from July 2007 through January 2009.

“Even so, the oil and gas industry will add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the US Treasury” when it is held, he continued.

Offshore oil and gas activities have funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which protestors said is in jeopardy, for many years, even though this provides no direct benefit to the industry, Luthi said. “Delaying the sale due to concerns that the LWCF has not been re-authorized is the epitome of the tail wagging the dog,” he declared.

“The problem is with how the LWCF funds have been used, not with the funding source,” Luthi said. “These groups should be working with Congress to see that the LWCF truly reflects the needs and desires of the public and the conservation community. Their current effort would leave the LWCF with no funding.”

The attempt to convince BOEM to delay the sale “is just another misguided and desperate attempt to shut down oil and gas production at all costs, and ignores projections showing that US consumers will rely largely upon traditional fuels well into the future,” he indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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