Posted April 27, 2016
BOEM’s DC meeting that followed others this month in New Orleans, Houston and a number of localities in Alaska, was an information smorgasbord. They had a video overview of the methodology in developing the leasing program that will guide offshore energy development from 2017 to 2022. They also had a number of tables with printed handouts, where BOEM staffers were available to talk about topics ranging from protected species to the human environment to acoustics in the water.
I asked a staffer if it was possible that someone knowing little to nothing about offshore energy and leasing could wander into BOEM’s meeting, watch the video, absorb the information handouts, talk to BOEM representatives and then submit an informed comment on the leasing proposal. “Yes,” he said. Neat.
BOEM had a number of laptops set up to receive electronic comments. I submitted mine the old-fashioned way, writing them out longhand on a form. I labored to print legibly.
Certainly, BOEM has been meticulous in developing its proposed leasing program. The final version that will come out early next year will say a lot about U.S. energy leadership and vision and the future of American energy. That’s how critically important our offshore reserves are.
Posted March 15, 2016
With the Obama administration’s decision not to include the Atlantic in the next federal offshore leasing program, let’s connect some dots that put this unfortunate decision in a fuller context – one where the administration is choosing retreat instead of progress with its energy strategy.
First, America’s energy revolution is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that has put this country on a path toward economic growth, consumer benefits, environmental progress and a more secure energy future. Yet, omitting the Atlantic from the five-year leasing program that will largely guide offshore development from 2017 to 2022 is retreat, not progress, in efforts to produce more energy right here at home.
It’s the wrong path for America – a path also defined by administration policies that have resulted in declining oil and natural gas production on federal lands, an onslaught ofunnecessary regulation and continuation of the harmful Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It’s a path that has made energy infrastructure development more problematic, a path that will negatively impact American households and one that could see the U.S. become less secure and less competitive in the world.
Posted February 4, 2016
With the president scheduled to put forward his last budget next week, here’s a short list of principles that should guide energy policy – because all will help sustain and grow the ongoing U.S. energy revolution. They include: reliance on industry innovation that has been the driving force behind America’s energy renaissance – innovation that launched the surge in shale energy production, prompting increased natural gas use and resulting in lower carbon emissions; embracing the successful, free-market approach to energy and economic growth while lowering emissions by basing decisions on sound science; and allowing more opportunities for energy exploration and development.
Erik Milito, API’s director of upstream and industry operations, talked about the policy pathway to energy growth and American prosperity during a conference call with reporters.
Posted August 20, 2015
Some observations on this week’s federal oil and natural gas lease sale in the Western Gulf of Mexico, reported with alarm by some media outlets because it wasn’t as large as other recent sales.
First, every lease sale is welcome. Access to U.S. offshore reserves represents opportunity for energy development, job creation, economic growth and greater American energy security. We need more offshore opportunities to support the strategic, long-term energy security of the United States – advanced by a robust offshore energy sector.
Posted May 12, 2015
Wall Street Journal: The U.S. government Monday conditionally approved Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s plans to drill in the Arctic Ocean this summer, removing the biggest remaining obstacle before the company can explore for oil and natural gas in the Arctic’s frigid, isolated waters.
The announcement adds to a mix of decisions by the Obama administration that have restricted and granted new domestic fossil-fuel development.
Though affecting just one company, the approval is a victory for the oil-and-gas industry, which has criticized recent regulations affecting the sector, including tougher requirements on hydraulic fracturing and trains hauling flammable oil. Monday’s approval is tied to regulations proposed by the government in February for Arctic drilling operations off the coast of Alaska that could pave the way for additional companies exploring in the region.
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 6, 2015
Statistics in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Monthly Energy Review for March show U.S. domestic energy production meeting about 89 percent of the country’s total energy demand. That’s up from 84 percent in 2013 and 2012 and reflects a key result of the domestic energy revolution: growing U.S. self-sufficiency.
EIA data shows U.S. energy production as a percentage of total demand. Total energy production (fossil fuels, nuclear electric power and renewables – again, as a percentage of total U.S. energy demand -- was about 69 percent in 2005, and it grew to about 89 percent last year. The share of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) accounted for approximately 55 percent in 2005, growing to about 70 percent last year.
Posted April 1, 2015
News that the Interior Department has reaffirmed Shell’s right to drill in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast is an important step toward to Arctic energy development. While the company still must secure individual drilling permits and overall federal approval of its exploration plan, this week’s action advances the larger objective of safe and responsible development of an extremely valuable energy reserve. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell:
“The Arctic is an important component of the Administration’s national energy strategy, and we remain committed to taking a thoughtful and balanced approach to oil and gas leasing and exploration offshore Alaska.”
The oil and natural gas industry agrees. In official comments to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), API and seven other industry-related associations argue that developing Arctic oil and natural gas off the coast of Alaska is essential to U.S. energy security. It’s also vital to the “long-term viability” of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System that connects Alaskan energy with the Lower 48. Developing Arctic energy is one of the keys to a robust offshore leasing program, which the federal government is drawing up right now.
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.
Posted August 21, 2014
There’s much good to report from this week’s federal offshore drilling lease auction for the western Gulf of Mexico. But we can do better.
The good: nearly $110 million in apparent high bids over 81 blocks covering more than 430,000 acres, according to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The bid total represents a moderate increase over last year’s western Gulf sale that generated slightly more than $102 million in bids. BOEM estimates the sale eventually could yield 116 million to 200 million barrels of oil and 538 billion cubic feet (bcf) to 938 bcf of natural gas.
Broadly speaking, the fact that the federal government conducted an offshore lease sale is in itself encouraging. Development of vast offshore oil and natural gas reserves starts with leasing areas for exploration. That’s where we can do better. More sales are needed to begin the process of finding and developing offshore energy on the outer continental shelf, 87 percent of which is off limits by policy.