Posted April 30, 2015
It’s noteworthy that there’s bipartisanship in Congress on offshore energy development. Last week a group of Republican U.S. House and Senate members signed onto a letter urging the Interior Department to increase access to energy reserves on the nation’s outer continental shelf. It follows a March 26 letter from Virginia’s two Democratic senators and a March 27 letter from a dozen House Democrats supporting offshore energy development.
Bipartisanship in Washington is quite a rare bird, so it’s significant to see it form around the need to develop domestic offshore energy.
Equally important: Strongly worded concern from the most recent letter’s signers that the draft 2017-2022 plan for oil and natural gas leasing offered by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management not be weakened by removing any of the leasing areas in the proposal.
Posted April 24, 2015
Last summer we posted on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s gentle pushback against various voices that objected to BOEM’s decision to allow safe, carefully regulated seismic testing to map offshore energy reserves in the Atlantic. The pushback apparently prompted some pushback, because last month BOEM reasserted the facts on safe seismic in its online “Science Notes” feature.
As was the case last August, BOEM Chief Environmental Officer William Y. Brown weighed in:
In August 2014, BOEM published a Science Note addressing a few fundamentals about impacts of seismic air gun surveys on marine mammal populations. … BOEM's conclusion regarding the impact of these surveys is in stark contrast with public statements citing BOEM research and asserting that many thousands of marine mammals will be killed or injured through these surveys. For example, one web posting states that “Seismic air gun testing currently being proposed in the Atlantic will injure 138,000 whales and dolphins and disturb millions more, according to government estimates.” This characterization of our conclusion, however, is not accurate; that is actually not what we estimate.
Posted April 17, 2015
BloombergBusiness: The U.S. pumped crude last month at the fastest pace since February 1973, sending March inventories to the highest level in 85 years.
Crude output climbed 13 percent from a year earlier to 9.32 million barrels a day in March, the American Petroleum Institute said in a monthly report Thursday. Production of natural gas liquids, a byproduct of gas drilling, climbed 9.1 percent to 3.05 million, a record for March. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central U.S.
“Production of both crude oil and natural gas liquids last month remained at the highest levels in decades even as rig counts reached a five-year low,” John Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said in an e-mailed statement.
Posted March 31, 2015
There are a number of main points in official comments submitted by API and seven other energy industry groups to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on its draft offshore oil and natural gas leasing program for the 2017-2022 time period.
Given how much offshore acreage was excluded from the proposed draft, BOEM should not remove any areas proposed in the draft from the final lease plan, the associations write. The government is missing key opportunities to harness U.S. offshore energy in the Atlantic, eastern Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska, as other countries are implementing robust offshore development programs. Energy development on the outer continental shelf (OCS) would generate significant job and economic benefits to the U.S., and industry continues to press ahead with technological, safety and environmental protection improvements – all designed to foster increased safety in offshore operations.
The comments are among those being collected by BOEM before it finalizes the five-year leasing program later this year. The leasing plan is a blueprint for offshore development; areas not listed in it won’t be offered for lease 2017 to 2022. Given the 10 to 15 years needed to develop offshore oil and natural gas – from the time the lease is sold to production – the federal plan is critically important.
Posted January 29, 2015
Offshore energy is getting lots of attention this week, which is good. Offshore energy is vital to America’s economy and energy security.
This week the Interior Department proposed the first draft of its next five-year program for offshore oil and natural gas leasing, in the 2017-2020 timeframe. While the draft plan doesn’t go far enough, it could include the first Atlantic lease sale in decades, and that would be a positive step. Meanwhile, on Thursday the federal government is scheduled to hold a lease sale for offshore wind in the Atlantic.
All of the above …
That’s more than a rhetorical flourish. America will need energy from all available sources in the future – thus the case for a genuine all-of-the-above strategy. We hope this week’s wind sale is successful.
Energy isn’t a zero-sum game, and neither is energy job creation. Offshore energy development of any kind can generate jobs and raise significant revenue for government. The country benefits and so do individual Americans – you know, folks holding the middle-class jobs everyone wants to support.
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Posted January 28, 2015
Three maps, two views of America’s offshore energy wealth.
One reflects vast offshore oil and natural gas resource potential – nearly 50 billion barrels of oil and more than 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. We say potential because these areas represent the 87 percent of America’s federal offshore acreage that has been closed to exploration and development, dwarfing the areas where development is allowed.
Nonetheless, what’s visible is the profile of an offshore energy giant, an offshore superpower. This is energy muscle waiting to be flexed. These are resources that could benefit Americans in terms of energy security, as more oil and natural gas is safely and responsibly produced right here at home, as well as job creation and economic stimulus.
That’s what energy superpowers do. They develop their resources to increase their security in a world where secure energy is fundamental to overall security. They develop their resources to fuel economic growth and to help ensure the prosperity of their citizens.
Posted August 4, 2014
Members of the U.S. House and Senate are weighing in with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on the administration’s new five-year oil and natural gas leasing program, and the message is fairly simple: open more of the outer continental shelf (OCS) for exploration and development.
Interior has begun work on the new leasing program that will cover 2017 to 2022. The plan is critical to offshore development because it lists areas where the federal government could hold auctions for oil and natural gas drilling leases. It lets energy companies know where to concentrate research efforts that guide bids on specific lease blocks. Currently, 87 percent of the offshore area under federal control is closed to development.
Posted July 23, 2014
There are three connected points in a new poll of registered U.S. voters on domestic oil and natural gas development that should resonate in Washington: Strong majorities of registered voters support more domestic drilling and production, they don’t think the federal government does enough to encourage development of domestic resources and they’re inclined to vote for political candidates who support oil and natural gas development here at home.
AP Upstream Group Director Erik Milito talked about the survey of 1,012 registered voters and issues related to increasing access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves during a conference call with reporters:
“Voters from across the political spectrum want to find and tap the vast oil and natural gas resources waiting to be discovered off our shores. Our industry stands ready to do the job safely and responsibly, and the benefits to our economy and our national security are impossible to deny. All the federal government needs to do is say, ‘Yes.’”
Posted July 16, 2014
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has newly revised resource estimates for the Atlantic outer continental shelf (OCS). Are you sitting down?
BOEM now believes areas within the 200 nautical mile U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone off the Atlantic Coast, from Maine to Florida, could hold 4.72 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 37.51 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas. Those numbers are 43 percent and 20 percent higher, respectively, than the last government estimate of the Atlantic OCS done in 2011.
Posted March 19, 2014
This week’s central Gulf of Mexico lease auction, which saw oil and natural gas companies pledge more than $850 million in winning amounts, certainly helps support the United States’ status as an energy superpower. Developing more of our own oil and natural gas – and this week’s auction is a big step toward production – makes our country more energy secure, creates jobs and boosts the U.S. in global energy marketplace.
The potential benefits from future energy production from this week’s auctioned leases – jobs, economic growth and revenue for government – also suggest a couple of “what ifs”: What if the federal government included the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in its next five-year leasing plan, the first step toward development in those areas? What if the U.S. opened more of the eastern Gulf to exploration and development?