Sources say White House may reverse offshore drilling ban


By Maureen Lorenzetti
OGJ Online


WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 15�Industry officials and lawmakers from oil producing states say the political timing is right for the White House and Congress to lift the 20-year drilling ban on most federal waters.

Tight natural gas supplies and the electricity crisis in California has led the White House to actively consider a proposal to lift the moratorium on exploration on the east and west coasts of the US, most of Alaska, and most of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, sources said.

The recommendation could come as soon as the end of this month when the President�s interagency energy task force reports its initial findings.

Industry and congressional sources cite several encouraging signs that a policy reformulation is in the works. First, they point to President George W. Bush�s remarks this week that drilling should be considered on all public lands, including national monuments.

Another signal from the administration came Thursday from Department of Energy Sec. Spencer Abraham, who told a Senate panel that blackouts in California are �inevitable� this summer. Veteran policymakers also note Bush�s pronouncement that higher energy costs were a deciding factor in his decision against regulating carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.

However, proponents of the offshore moratorium note it will take more than the White House to remove the bans, which block federal agencies from spending funds on offshore lease planning.

Lisa Speer of the Natural Resources Defense Council testified before the House Resources Committee that since 1981 Congress has annually renewed the restrictions on Outer Continental Shelf leasing.

Former President George Bush supported the ban, as does the president�s brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

The issue clearly cuts across regional rather than political lines. In an interview with OGJ Online, Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) supported Bush�s recent announcement saying, �Everything should at least be considered. You can take some things off the table. And (you can) put some back on, but it all should be considered.�

Meanwhile Democrats representing energy consuming states argue that industry should focus exploration on public lands already available for leasing.

�What we are talking about is sequencing,� Rep. Ed Markey told OGJ Online. �There is only about 5% of public lands that are completely restricted, so why go after them first?�

Industry officials testifying before the Resources panel argued that about 29 tcf of Rockies gas resources, which could be used to supply gas-fired generation in California, are closed to development for environmental reasons. Another 108 tcf are available with restrictions, testified Marlan Downey, president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.


Contact Maureen Lorenzetti at Maureenl@OGJOnline.com.

Related Articles

BHI’s rig count reaches 5-year low; forecasts project more losses

02/20/2015 The US drilling rig count fell 48 units—markedly fewer compared with declines in recent weeks—to settle at 1,310 rigs working during the week ended...

Noble Energy’s budget down 40% in 2015

02/20/2015 Noble Energy Inc., Houston, plans to spend $2.9 billion in 2015, representing a 40% reduction from 2014. The company also reported full-year 2014 n...

Marathon revises down budget by 20%

02/19/2015

Marathon Oil Corp., Houston, has reduced its capital, investment, and exploration budget for 2015 by another 20% to $3.5 billion.

Magnum Hunter slashes budget by 75%

02/18/2015 Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., Houston, plans a $100 million upstream capital expenditure budget for 2015, down from the $400 the company planned f...

Comments sought on Pinedale Anticline gas field noise report

02/18/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management’s Pinedale Anticline Project Office (PAPO) is seeking public comments on a 2014 acoustic noise report on sound lev...

Ohio Supreme Court rules against municipality in oil and gas case

02/17/2015 The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the city of Munroe Falls cannot impose local drilling and zoning ordinances that conflict with Ohio state law reg...

BHI: US rig count continues 11-week dive, loses 98 more units

02/13/2015

The US drilling rig count plunged 98 units to settle at 1,358 rigs working during the week ended Feb. 13, Baker Hughes Inc. reported.

Apache’s 2015 capital budget less than half of last year’s $8.5 billion

02/12/2015 Apache Corp., Houston, plans a capital budget of $3.6-4 billion in 2015, with $2.1-2.3 billion directed toward onshore North America and $1.5-1.7 b...

PNR cuts capital spending nearly in half

02/11/2015 Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PNR), Dallas, plans to spend $1.85 billion in 2015 following a fourth quarter in which the company reported a net in...
White Papers

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Oil & Gas Journal’s Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015

Fri, Jan 30, 2015

The  Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015 Webcast will address Oil & Gas Journal’s outlooks for the oil market and pipeline construction in a year of turbulence. Based on two annual special reports, the webcast will be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and OGJ Managing Editor-Technology Chris Smith.
The Forecast & Review portion of the webcast will identify forces underlying the collapse in crude oil prices and assess prospects for changes essential to recovery—all in the context of geopolitical pressures buffeting the market.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected