Tuesday, March 20, 2018

NOIA Comments Support Offshore Leasing Program

Posted by March 9, 2018

  • © xmentoys / Adobe Stock
  • NOIA President Randall Luthi
he National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) has submitted comments which strongly encourage the Secretary of the Interior to proceed with lease sale planning in all 25 planning areas proposed in the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024 (DPP).
Specifically, NOIA supports the annual offering of all acreage in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico and the opening of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico as soon as the current moratorium expires, and recommends conducting lease sales early in the plan in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as well as in the Mid, South, and North Atlantic and Southern California Planning areas.
“This is the first draft proposed offshore leasing program in nearly two generations to look at virtually all federal offshore lands. The United States has severely restricted oil and gas exploration off our shores, placing 94 percent of our nation’s outer continental shelf off limits, even as Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Norway, Russia and countries in Africa are actively exploring their own offshore areas. The U.S. is falling behind,” said NOIA President Randall Luthi.

“What’s worse, some regions of the U.S. import the majority of their oil and natural gas supply from countries that may not share American values. Take, for example, California, where dependence on foreign oil has grown by 456 percent since 1996.  California has chosen to send billions of dollars overseas, including to Saudi Arabia, instead of tapping its own vast offshore resources to provide jobs, economic growth and energy security for Californians,” said Luthi.     

“Looking beyond the Gulf of Mexico and opening new areas for exploration is wise and can create jobs, help meet growing energy demands, reduce our regional dependence on oil and natural gas imports, strengthen our economic, energy and national security and further cement our nation’s position as world energy leader,” said Luthi.

The DPP is the second step in a multi-year process that will determine a future leasing schedule, NOT a future drilling schedule. The process involves several rounds of public participation from stakeholders, including local communities, and several layers of environmental review. Once the leasing program is finalized, many months from now, future decisions on possible drilling must undergo their own series of public and environmental reviews.  Similarly, any future efforts to actually produce offshore oil and natural gas will be subject to yet another round of review. 

NOIA looks forward to cooperating with stakeholders, including states, local communities, and consumer groups, and supporting the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management throughout the upcoming stages in the development of the 2019-2024 national offshore leasing program. 

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