LMOGA Calls for Expansion of Offshore Leasing Program in Next 5-Year Energy Plan

08 15, 2014 by LMOGA

BATON ROUGE, LA— In comments submitted yesterday, the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association urged federal officials to expand federal waters eligible for energy exploration in order to meet America’s energy demands, provide American jobs, and improve the national economy.
The letter to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management was sent in response to the agency’s request for information as it prepares its plan for the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The comment deadline is today.

“LMOGA believes it is prudent for the 2017-2022 5-Year OCS Leasing Plan to include areas of existing exploration and development activities (Western, Central, and a small portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Alaska), as well as new areas where there has been little to no activity (Mid and South Atlantic, other areas in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific). It is important to consider all areas of the OCS to strengthen our country’s energy security, meet our nation’s energy demands, and provide a much-needed boost to our nation’s economy,” writes association President Chris John and Offshore Committee Director Lori LeBlanc.

Currently, offshore energy development managed by the existing 2012-2017 Five-Year Plan is only permitted in 13 percent of federal waters; 87 percent of America’s offshore waters are currently off-limits to drilling. A 2011 study by Wood-Mackenzie suggests developing all of the current “off limit” areas in the OCS would add an additional $127 Billion in new government revenue by 2020.

“More domestic energy reduces our reliance on energy from other regions of the world where conflict can abruptly impact energy markets. It would also produce significant and high-paying jobs to Americans in communities still reeling from the recent recession, and significantly boost royalties paid to the federal treasury, not to mention the tremendous sales that could be realized by local businesses supporting the energy industry…. The vibrant offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico has proven to provide long-lasting and undisputable economic and energy security benefits not only to Louisiana, but also to the entire nation. These are direct benefits that states across our country could experience with the opening of additional OCS territories for energy development,” the letter concludes.

In its comments, LMOGA also requested that federal officials lift the offshore revenue-sharing cap for Gulf states and update the revenue distribution formula to reflect historic and current energy production off of a state’s coast.

Click here for the full comment letter.