Tomorrow’s scheduled Central Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas lease sale in New Orleans will be the first in that area since March 2010. Setting aside for a moment the two-year gap in exploration and development caused by two years without new sales, tomorrow’s auction is important to America’s economic and energy security.
Unfortunately, the two-year gap is real and has real impact. Because it takes seven to 10 years for an offshore lease to start producing oil or natural gas, there’s a gap in the development timeline. It’s like a vintner who skips two years growing grapes; at some point in the wine-producing process there’ll be a lean vintage year. Here’s a chart that shows the stages and time requirements of offshore development:
A couple of other points about tomorrow’s leas... more »