API asks BOEM not to cut already-restrictive offshore leasing draft

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s proposed 2017-22 draft proposed federal offshore oil and gas leasing program already is too restrictive and should not be reduced further, the American Petroleum Institute said in comments submitted to the US Department of the Interior agency.

It said US Outer Continental Shelf areas “should not be prematurely removed from leasing consideration as the administration has done in the Atlantic, or permanently removed from future consideration as happened in Alaska.

“These areas have not been adequately explored and, in the case of the Atlantic, the decision to include a 50-mile buffer zone was made without the benefit of a full environmental analysis and could remove substantial resources from future production,” API continued in Mar. 30 comments that seven other oil and gas associations co-signed.

Some environmental organizations have said oil and gas activity would threaten marine line along the US South and Mid-Atlantic Coasts. Oceana sent a letter from 75 marine scientists at Cornell University and other institutions to US President Barack Obama on Mar. 5, urging him to reject BOEM’s analysis and not allow seismic activity on the Atlantic OCS.

“America’s energy security depends on our ability to produce oil and gas here in the US,” API Upstream Director Erik Milito said on Mar. 30. “The administration should not make the map or the list of lease sales any smaller. Too many promising areas are already excluded, taking off the table hundreds of thousands of potential jobs and tens of billions of dollars in government revenue.”

API also encouraged BOEM to hold the currently proposed Atlantic lease sale a year or two earlier and to add a second Atlantic sale to the program. “Safe and responsible energy development in the Atlantic will strengthen local economies with new job opportunities and private investment,” said Milito. “The Obama administration should carefully consider America’s long-term energy needs because these decisions will impact the country for a long time.”

The National Ocean Industries Association, Independent Petroleum Association of America, US Oil and Gas Association, American Exploration & Production Council, International Association of Geophysical Contractors, Petroleum Equipment and Services Association, and Alaska Oil and Gas Association co-signed API’s comments.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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