GOP, API want more offshore oil leases

08 10, 2012 by UPI

"Inert energy policies" could leave the United States behind the rest of the world in terms of offshore energy development, a trade group said.

Republican governors from U.S. coastal states, in a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, expressed concern that a current offshore lease plan excludes parts of the mid- and south-Atlantic and sets aside "millions of acres in the Arctic from leasing in order to form 'study areas.'"

A lease sale for areas off the coast of Texas is set for November. The 5-year plan outlined by the U.S. Interior Department calls for 12 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska. The U.S. government estimates more than 67 billion barrels of oil and 306 trillion cubic feet of gas are potentially available in the proposed lease areas.

Erik Milito, upstream director for the American Petroleum Institute, called on the Obama administration to put more energy into offshore development.

"The U.S. should not settle for inert energy policies that threaten our energy security as the rest of the world moves forward with energy development," Milito said.

The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration, in its August report, states that U.S. crude oil production averaged 6.3 million barrels per day last year, the highest level since 1997. Domestic crude oil production should increase by 6.7 million bpd by next year.