Posted June 29, 2017
The Trump administration is taking the first step to more fully harness the United States’ offshore oil and natural gas wealth, beginning work on a new five-year offshore leasing plan – the federal blueprint for future offshore development. It’s great news for America’s future energy security, for consumers and our economy.
President Trump’s executive order in April called for an America-First offshore energy strategy, and it starts by redoing the five-year leasing program for 2017-2022 that was left behind by the Obama administration. On Thursday the Interior Department put out an official request for information – seeking public input – before officials begin drafting a proposal for a new five-year program. Trump:
“We’re creating a new offshore oil and gas leasing program. America will be allowed to access the vast energy wealth located right off our shores. And this is all just the beginning, believe me. The golden era of American energy is now underway. And I’ll go a step further: The golden era of America is now underway. … When it comes to the future of America’s energy needs, we will find it, we will dream it and we will build it.”
API President and CEO Jack Gerard welcomed the announcement:
“[W]e look forward to working with the administration and Congress on an offshore leasing plan that will fully embrace our nation’s energy potential. Eighty percent of American voters support increased domestic oil and natural gas production, which will help keep energy affordable for consumers, create jobs, and strengthen our national security. … The U.S. oil and natural gas industry has a long history of safe operations that have strengthened U.S. energy security and contributed significantly to our nation’s economy. It’s important that the next five-year plan includes the ability to explore our resources … which would spur investment and economic activity, could create thousands of jobs, and provide billions in government revenue.”
This is a big deal for America’s energy future. Offshore natural gas and oil production has been hindered by a lack of access to areas controlled by Washington, with 94 percent of federal offshore acreage currently off limits to development:
The administration’s effort to redo the five-year leasing plan should include the option of safe development in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic. Because of offshore energy development’s long timeline, including these and other offshore areas in the leasing program now preserves the option of developing them in the foreseeable future – which is of strategic energy importance to the U.S. Earlier this year, API Upstream Group Director Erik Milito talked about the importance of a strong offshore energy program:
“Developing our abundant offshore energy resources is a critical part of a robust, forward-looking energy policy that will secure our nation’s energy future and strengthen the U.S. energy renaissance. … Increased access to energy resources is not only important for jobs and our economy, but also our national security. Resources discovered in the Atlantic, a virtually unexplored area, would take years to bring on line, and it is decisions made in the past that are keeping us from realizing the potential benefits now. In the Pacific, there is also existing infrastructure and production, as well as known reserves that are being kept off-limits.”
So let the process of developing a new offshore leasing program begin: American energy for Americans.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.