Today, Energy Workforce & Technology Council joined 17 energy trade associations in calling on the Biden Administration to stop putting the nation’s energy security and that of its allies at risk and support U.S. energy workers by finalizing plans for the offshore leasing program, which is more than a year overdue.
In a letter to President Biden, the organizations call for the Administration to finalize a new National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program that includes the 11 lease sales that were included in the Department of Interior’s initial proposal in June 2022, hold required offshore lease sales for oil and gas production and begin the pre-leasing work required to hold lease sales in 2024. The last lease sale required by the Inflation Reduction Act is to be held on September 27.
The letter also highlights the risks the Administration takes by delaying its plans, including adding global emissions by relying on other regions outside the Gulf of Mexico with less stringent environmental standards. U.S. Gulf of Mexico production has a carbon intensity 46% lower than production in other parts of the world.
In addition to providing much-needed resources to meet global demand, as U.S. offshore production produces nearly 15% of U.S. oil and natural gas, it also generates millions of dollars for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), providing essential funding for public outdoor recreation and conservation projects across the country.
Excerpts from the letter include:
“The timely finalization of the leasing program and start of pre-leasing work will help strengthen U.S. energy security and support energy affordability for Americans and its global partners. The world needs American energy leadership, but that leadership requires supportive energy policies from Washington. Without the certainty and predictability provided by a robust five-year leasing program, including yearly lease sales to obtain new acres, companies may explore opportunities elsewhere. Their decisions and the resulting economic, energy, and environmental benefits will be realized elsewhere, not in the U.S.”
“Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects that the U.S. will still depend on oil and natural gas for more than 60% of its energy needs in 2050, and failing to issue a new five-year program in a timely manner undermines the certainty the offshore industry needs to continue to invest billions of dollars in exploration and development of offshore oil and natural gas.”
“It is best for those resources to come from America and off its shores. The administration should embrace policies and actions that encourage continued investments in American offshore leasing, exploration and development. Companies need consistent access to competitive lease sales and the ability to explore for new sources to try and replace depleting reserves. Both are critical to making the long-term investments that offshore development requires, and this is especially true for deepwater projects.”
“The success of emerging offshore energy segments, which are prioritized by the Biden Administration, is closely intertwined with the long-term success of the domestic offshore oil and gas sector. Many companies operating in offshore energy, with roots in the oil and gas industry, are actively engaged in finding solutions, expanding, and building new energy segments like offshore wind and carbon capture and storage (CCS). However, the lack of a new offshore oil and gas leasing program introduces uncertainty that will inevitably hinder companies’ ability to invest in these promising energy avenues.”
Corry Schiermeyer, Senior Director Communications, writes about governmental policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.