Sec­re­tary Zinke an­nounces largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. his­tory

The McLeod River Post - - The Patch -

U.S. Sec­re­tary of the In­te­rior Ryan Zinke to­day (Oct.24) an­nounced that the Depart­ment is propos­ing the largest oil and gas lease sale ever held in the United States --76,967,935 acres in fed­eral waters of the Gulf of Mex­ico, off­shore Texas, Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, Alabama and Florida. The pro­posed re­gion-wide lease sale, of­fer­ing an area about the size of New Mex­ico, is sched­uled for March 2018 and in­cludes all avail­able un­leased ar­eas on the Gulf’s Outer Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf, sur­pass­ing last year’s re­gion-wide lease sale by about one mil­lion acres.

“In to­day’s low-price en­ergy en­vi­ron­ment, pro­vid­ing the off­shore in­dus­try ac­cess to the max­i­mum amount of op­por­tu­ni­ties pos­si­ble is part of our strat­egy to spur lo­cal and re­gional eco­nomic dy­namism and job cre­ation and a pil­lar of Pres­i­dent Trump’s plan to make the United States en­ergy dom­i­nant,” Sec­re­tary Zinke said. “And the eco­nomic terms pro­posed for this sale in­clude a range of in­cen­tives to en­cour­age dili­gent de­vel­op­ment and en­sure a fair re­turn to tax­pay­ers.”

Pro­posed Lease Sale 250, which will be livestreamed from New Or­leans, will be the sec­ond off­shore sale un­der the Na­tional Outer Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf Oil and Gas Leas­ing Pro­gram for 2017-2022. Lease Sale 249, held in New Or­leans last Au­gust, re­ceived $121 mil­lion in high bids. In ad­di­tion to the high bids and rental pay­ments, the Depart­ment will re­ceive roy­alty pay­ments on any fu­ture pro­duc­tion from th­ese leases. Outer Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf (OCS) lease rev­enues are di­rected to the U.S. Trea­sury, Gulf Coast states, the Land and Wa­ter Con­ser­va­tion Fund and His­toric Preser­va­tion Fund.

“In or­der to strengthen Amer­ica’s en­ergy dom­i­nance, we must an­tic­i­pate and plan for our needs for decades to come,” said Sen­a­tor Lisa Murkowski, Chair­man of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on En­ergy & Nat­u­ral Re­sources. “The ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to move for­ward with the largest off­shore lease sale in our na­tion’s his­tory is a key part of that ef­fort. Whether in Alaska or the Gulf of Mex­ico, we should all sup­port re­spon­si­ble de­vel­op­ment be­cause it cre­ates high-pay­ing jobs, strength­ens na­tional se­cu­rity, and keeps en­ergy af­ford­able for our fam­i­lies and busi­nesses.”

“Pres­i­dent Trump’s team is fol­low­ing through on their com­mit­ment to ad­vanc­ing Amer­ica’s en­ergy in­de­pen­dence,” said Sen­a­tor Roger Wicker. “Un­like the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion, this one un­der­stands that ex­panded off­shore en­ergy de­vel­op­ment ben­e­fits work­ing fam­i­lies, con­sumers, and our na­tional se­cu­rity. This is a win for Mis­sis­sippi and the en­tire coun­try.”

“Pres­i­dent Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion are fol­low­ing through on their prom­ise to end the war on Amer­i­can en­ergy,” said Sen­a­tor Bill Cas­sidy. “In­vest­ing in en­ergy cre­ates bet­ter jobs with bet­ter ben­e­fits for work­ing fam­i­lies, strength­ens our na­tional se­cu­rity and strength­ens our en­ergy in­de­pen­dence.”

“This is great news that our oil and gas in­dus­try in Louisiana sorely needs. This is the largest sale in U.S. his­tory, and it will cre­ate jobs and bol­ster our state and na­tional econ­omy,” said Sen­a­tor John Kennedy. “Our Louisiana work­ers are ready to go back to work.”

“Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump made clear his de­sire to en­sure Amer­i­cans can use our own nat­u­ral re­sources to pro­duce the en­ergy vi­tal to our econ­omy and na­tional se­cu­rity,” said Alabama Gover­nor Kay Ivey. “As he has done time and again, Pres­i­dent Trump has proven to the peo­ple of Alabama that he is a man of his word, and we are grate­ful to him and to Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke for their de­ter­mi­na­tion to open a vast tract of Amer­i­can waters to oil and gas ex­plo­ration. This de­ci­sion is not only in the best in­ter­est of all Amer­i­cans, it al­lows Gulf Coast states, like Alabama, to uti­lize our nat­u­ral re­sources not only to pro­vide en­ergy for our na­tion, but in­creased eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for our peo­ple.”

“Mis­sis­sippi wel­comes Sec­re­tary Zinke’s ac­tion to carry out the pres­i­dent’s vi­sion for Amer­i­can en­ergy dom­i­nance,” said Mis­sis­sippi Gover­nor Phil Bryant. “This will strengthen our state’s sta­tus as a leader in oil and gas ex­plo­ration and cre­ate good jobs for hard­work­ing Mis­sis­sip­pi­ans.”

“If we’re se­ri­ous about en­ergy dom­i­nance and long-term en­ergy af­ford­abil­ity, we must cre­ate cer­tainty about fu­ture ac­cess in the Outer Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf,” said Con­gress­man Rob Bishop, Chair­man of the House Com­mit­tee on Nat­u­ral Re­sources. “Sec­re­tary Zinke should be com­mended for his lead­er­ship to cre­ate that cer­tainty and re­align In­te­rior as a part­ner for in­dus­try to ad­vance re­spon­si­ble en­ergy de­vel­op­ment. This is a wel­comed an­nounce­ment on that front. Con­gres­sion­ally, we will con­tinue to move for­ward on a com­pre­hen­sive over­haul of on­shore and off­shore fed­eral lands en­ergy pol­icy to help In­te­rior ex­pand even greater ac­cess, stream­line per­mit­ting and in­crease rev­enues to both states and the U.S. Trea­sury.”

“Sec­re­tary Zinke’s an­nounce­ment is wel­come news and I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to work with the ad­min­is­tra­tion to put con­sumer’s in­ter­ests first while pro­mot­ing job cre­ation and mod­ern­iz­ing our na­tion’s en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture,” said Con­gress­man Greg Walden, Chair­man of the House Com­mit­tee on En­ergy & Com­merce. “The pres­i­dent and his ad­min­is­tra­tion have placed en­ergy in­de­pen­dence and se­cu­rity at the top of their agenda, and this com­mit­tee has been lead­ing the way in ex­am­in­ing poli­cies that seek to stream­line sit­ing and per­mit­ting of the na­tion’s oil and gas pipe­lines.”

“Pres­i­dent Trump has stated that he wants our coun­try to ex­ert ‘en­ergy dom­i­nance’ through­out the world, and this lease sale is an­other bold step in that di­rec­tion,” said House Ma­jor­ity Whip Steve Scalise. “I ap­plaud to­day’s an­nounce­ment by Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke to of­fer the largest off­shore oil and gas lease sale in U.S. his­tory. My con­stituents in South­east Louisiana will be lead­ing the way in this ex­plo­ration and de­vel­op­ment that will cre­ate good jobs and kick­start more eco­nomic growth. This bold ac­tion helps us con­tinue fight­ing for the re­spon­si­ble de­vel­op­ment of our nat­u­ral re­sources that bring crit­i­cal dol­lars to re­store our coast.”

“As a long-time ad­vo­cate for open­ing up more of the Gulf of Mex­ico, it’s re­fresh­ing to work with an Ad­min­is­tra­tion that un­der­stands it’s true en­ergy po­ten­tial,” said Con­gress­man Pete Ol­son. “Oil pro­duc­tion, when done safely and re­spon­si­bly, is a win for Texas and the Gulf Coast econ­omy, and adds to Amer­ica’s en­ergy se­cu­rity. I ap­plaud Sec­re­tary Zinke for mov­ing for­ward with this lease sale and hope th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties to tap into our en­ergy po­ten­tial con­tinue.”

“Sec­re­tary Zinke’s an­nounce­ment of the largest oil and gas lease sale in our coun­try’s his­tory is wel­come news. The oil and gas in­dus­try pro­vides thou­sands of di­rect and in­di­rect jobs to the peo­ple of Mis­sis­sippi,” said Con­gress­man Gregg Harper. “This lease sale has the po­ten­tial to cre­ate new op­por­tu­ni­ties for our state and na­tion as ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy con­tinue to make the United States a world leader in nat­u­ral re­source pro­duc­tion.”

“I ap­plaud Sec­re­tary Zinke and the Depart­ment of In­te­rior for their ef­forts to spur en­ergy pro­duc­tion and sup­port com­mu­ni­ties along the Gulf Coast. Rev­enue from th­ese leases will be a huge boost for Gulf states, like Alabama, and will help us con­tinue con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion of our trea­sured coastal ar­eas,” said Con­gress­man Bradley Byrne. “Through de­vel­op­ments like this, we can en­sure Amer­i­can en­ergy dom­i­nance and make life bet­ter for Gulf Coast fam­i­lies.”

The es­ti­mated amount of re­sources pro­jected to be de­vel­oped as a re­sult of the pro­posed re­gion-wide lease sale ranges from 0.21 to 1.12 bil­lion bar­rels of oil and from 0.55 to 4.42 tril­lion cu­bic feet of gas. Most of the ac­tiv­ity (up to 83% of fu­ture pro­duc­tion) from the pro­posed lease sale is ex­pected to oc­cur in the Cen­tral Plan­ning Area.

Pro­posed Lease Sale 250 in­cludes 14,375 un­leased blocks, lo­cated from 3 to 230 miles off­shore, in the Gulf’s West­ern, Cen­tral and East­ern plan­ning ar­eas in wa­ter depths rang­ing from 9 to more than 11,115 feet (three to 3,400 me­ters). Ex­cluded from the lease sale are blocks sub­ject to the Con­gres­sional mora­to­rium es­tab­lished by the Gulf of Mex­ico En­ergy Se­cu­rity Act of 2006; blocks that are ad­ja­cent to or be­yond the U.S. Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone in the area known as the north­ern por­tion of the East­ern Gap; and whole blocks and par­tial blocks within the cur­rent bound­ary of the Flower Gar­den Banks Na­tional Marine Sanc­tu­ary.

“Amer­i­can en­ergy pro­duc­tion can be com­pet­i­tive while re­main­ing safe and en­vi­ron­men­tally sound,” said Vin­cent DeVito, Coun­selor for En­ergy Pol­icy at In­te­rior. “Peo­ple need jobs, the Gulf Coast states need rev­enue, and Amer­i­cans do not want to be de­pen­dent on for­eign oil. We have heard their mes­sage loud and clear.”

The lease sale terms in­clude stip­u­la­tions to pro­tect bi­o­log­i­cally sen­si­tive re­sources, mit­i­gate po­ten­tial ad­verse ef­fects on pro­tected species, and avoid po­ten­tial con­flicts as­so­ci­ated with oil and gas de­vel­op­ment in the re­gion. The terms and con­di­tions for Lease Sale 250 in the Pro­posed No­tice of Sale are not fi­nal. Dif­fer­ent terms and con­di­tions may be em­ployed in the Fi­nal No­tice of Sale, which will be pub­lished at least 30 days be­fore the sale.

The Bureau of Ocean En­ergy Man­age­ment (BOEM) es­ti­mates that the OCS con­tains about 90 bil­lion bar­rels of undis­cov­ered tech­ni­cally re­cov­er­able oil and 327 tril­lion cu­bic feet of undis­cov­ered tech­ni­cally re­cov­er­able gas. The Gulf of Mex­ico OCS, cov­er­ing about 160 mil­lion acres, has tech­ni­cally re­cov­er­able re­sources of over 48 bil­lion bar­rels of oil and 141 tril­lion cu­bic feet of gas.

All terms and con­di­tions for Gulf of Mex­ico Re­gion-wide Sale 250 are de­tailed in the Pro­posed No­tice of Sale (PNOS) in­for­ma­tion pack­age, which is avail­able at: Copies of the PNOS maps can be re­quested from BOEM’s Gulf of Mex­ico Re­gion’s Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion Unit at 1201 Elm­wood Park Boule­vard, New Or­leans, LA 70123, or at 800-200-GULF (4853).

The No­tice of Avail­abil­ity of the PNOS will be avail­able for in­spec­tion in the Fed­eral Reg­is­ter on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 26, at:­eral-reg­is­ter/pub­lic-in­spec­tion.

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