US Arctic offshore lease sales may resume, with same risks

Glen Norman
January 13, 2018

Nearly all of that was produced inland, in Kern County and parts of Southern California, but the state's offshore platforms still produced about 11 million barrels, mainly off the coasts of Santa Barbara and Long Beach.

In a statement issued by the Department of Interior, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has proposed a plan for "unleashing America's offshore oil and gas potential".

TRT World's Alican Ayanlar has more. But overall, the record of off shore drilling is a safe one.

Rules requiring third-party inspections of safety equipment would also be repealed.

"Communities surrounding our 88 coastal national parks, including Santa Barbara, Charleston and Baltimore, have formally opposed offshore drilling and exploration", Lund said.

About the only people who are happy about the plan, other than the Trump administration and some Republicans in Congress, are oil company executives.

Defense Department spokeswoman Major Carla Gleason said collaboration with Interior on the issue was "a priority".

Of course, the happiest were the interested industrial groups.

. At approximately 77 million acres, roughly the size of New Mexico, the sale would be the largest in U.S. history.

It is not clear how much oil and gas exists under Atlantic waters off the East Coast, because existing data stem largely from decades-old geological surveys and more than four-dozen wells drilled in the 1970s and 1980s. Faust added that any intentions to do off-shore drilling along the coast of California were just efforts of grandstanding by the Trump administration. And the president is seeking to shrink national marine sanctuaries such as Monterey Bay, the Channel Islands and the Greater Farrallones, which are protected under federal law from drilling.

Oil platforms like the one pictured here could be placed off Florida's coast under a new proposal from the Trump administration. Included in the proposal are multiple regions off of the Alaskan coast that have always been targeted by energy companies. Additional costs could also come from litigation initiated by state attorneys general and environmental groups, which fiercly oppose the expansion.

Oil industry advocates argue companies need fresh territory beyond the Gulf of Mexico, where drilling has been ongoing for decades and the quest for crude has driven them into deeper waters. It also lifts a ban on drilling put in place by the Obama administration that protected more than 100 million offshore acres along the Arctic and Eastern seaboards. There are no current leases in the Atlantic, and the last sale was in 1983. No new leases have been granted in the Pacific since 1984.

"Under President Trump, we're going to have the strongest energy policy and become the strongest energy superpower", Zinke said in a conference call. The maintenance of restrictions on domestic production increases the risk of price spikes. Selling those leases would then trigger the start of development, with the first drop of new oil not likely to appear above ground before 2022.

At the same time, opportunities in USA onshore shale fields, where production can be started up and shut down quickly, is competing for drillers' dollars, said McNabb, who also served on Trump's council of corporate advisers. This is a fraction of the reserves held by top-ranked Venezuela (300,878 million), Saudi Arabia (266,455 million), and Canada (169,709 million).

On an annual basis, the United States consumes approximately 25 percent of the world's petroleum, while producing only 6 percent.

The incoming governor's wife, Tammy, said the damage from an oil spill would be far worse than the $1 billion hit New Jersey's beaches took from the medical waste episodes. Their jobs will also be highly tenuous, as the global price of oil has always been a weapon wielded by the USA and its allies in OPEC.

Crude oil production in the United States has risen sharply since 2011, reaching 9.7 million barrels a day, almost half of the country's consumption.

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