The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Offshore Drilling: More Delays?

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 4, 2010

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says a new 2012-2017 Five-Year Plan providing a framework for offshore drilling will be released later this month. He made the announcement yesterday while testifying before a Senate panel on the department's proposed 2011 budget.

"What we are attempting to do is to pull together a plan for the Outer Continental Shelf that will cover both the existing current plan...the 2007-2012 plan, as well as looking into the future," Salazar said. (Platts' Commodity News)

At this point it's unclear how combining the two leasing plans will affect U.S. offshore energy development:

  • Will it prevent offshore drilling during the summer season in Alaska? "We will miss out this season if decisions aren't made within this very short window," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told Salazar at yesterday's hearing.
  • How will administration officials respond to all of the American citizens who submitted public comments on offshore drilling last summer? So far the administration hasn't released the official tally, but a report based on a Freedom of Information Act request says the comments supported offshore development by a 2-to-I margin with more than 530,000 comments submitted.

Similar results were found in a new Pew Research Center poll showing that 63 percent of Americans support expanded offshore oil drilling. The poll also shows strong support for alternative forms of energy, indicating that Americans understand that this nation will need all of the energy it can get in coming decades.

API issued a statement late yesterday in response to Salazar's comments about the five-year planning process, encouraging "the Administration to move as expeditiously as possible to increase domestic oil and natural gas development...We hope to work with the Interior Department and others in the Administration to bring about the domestic energy development Americans have clearly been demanding."