US House passes bill requiring DOI to hold canceled OCS lease sales

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, May 5 -- The US House of Representative approved a bill that would compel the US Department of the Interior to hold federal Outer Continental Shelf lease sales that it canceled following the 2010 Macondo well accident and crude oil spill. The measure passed by 266 to 149 votes on May 5 after several hours of debate.

HR 1230 would require DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement to hold OCS sales in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia’s coast, both of which were scheduled for 2011 before the Apr. 28, 2010, blowout and explosion that killed 11 workers and spilled 5 million bbl of oil into the gulf before the well was capped late last summer.

A companion measure, HR 1229, would require the Interior secretary to act on offshore drilling permit applications within 30 days. Interior Sec. Ken Salazar said that more time is needed than currently allowed under the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The bill would authorize up to two 15-day extensions if he explains in writing to the applicant why the permit has been delayed or rejected. The House apparently plans to take this bill up in another week.

May 5 debate on the measures introduced earlier this year by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) showed Republicans supporting them to raise US oil and gas production, put more people to work, and improve the general economic recovery. “Gasoline prices are high because the Obama administration has cut off access to billions of barrels of domestic supplies,” said Steve Scalise (La.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Democrats strongly opposed them as unnecessary “giveaways” to the oil and gas industry during a federal budget crisis and a return to lax regulations already in place before the Macondo well accident and spill. “We need to take back the oil industry’s tax breaks and use the money to reduce the federal deficit and preserve Grandma’s Medicare benefits,” said Edward J. Markey (Mass.), the Natural Resources Committee’s ranking minority member.

Sought compromise
Another Democrat, Sheila Jackson Lee (Tex.), called for a reasoned debate, noting that her Houston area constituents are still recovering from the effects of the 2010 spill, but also want to get back to work. She expressed disappointment that Republicans would not consider her amendment to resume offshore leasing, but also give Interior more time to review drilling permit applications.

The bill’s approval was more symbolic than substantive since it’s unlikely that the US Senate, where Democrats are in the majority, will take it up. The White House has said that it opposes HR 1230, but has not threatened an outright veto.

The measure attracted strong support from parts of the oil and gas industry frustrated by offshore drilling permit delays under regulations BOEMRE imposed after the spill. “The proposals would create thousands of US jobs and help bring skyrocketing [gasoline] prices back to earth,” said Jim Adams, president of the Offshore Marine Service Association. “Taxpayers would also benefit. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that HR 1230 would bring $40 million in federal revenue over the next decade.”

Speaking at a Richmond gasoline retailer’s station on May 5, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) noted that by requiring the Atlantic coastal and eastern gulf lease sales to move forward, “we will be well on our way to restarting offshore energy production which will create jobs, lower energy costs, and generate revenue to pay down the national debt.”

Virginia Petroleum Council Pres. Mike Ward, who also attended the event, added, “The energy markets are constantly looking for signals to guide today’s investment strategies for producing tomorrow’s energy. Regrettably, the signals the Obama administration has been sending encourage less investment in future domestic energy production. America must pursue policies that encourage responsible development of our resources instead of relying on imported energy from unstable parts of the world.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Chinese regulators approve Sinopec’s plan for grassroots refinery

02/06/2015 China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved Sinopec Beijing Yanshan Petrochemical Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of China Nation...

BOEM schedules public meetings about draft proposed 5-year OCS plan

02/06/2015 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold the first of 20 public meetings in Washington on Feb. 9 to receive public comments on potential ...

Congressional Republicans renew bid to halt sue-and-settle maneuvers

02/05/2015 Calling it an affront to regulatory accountability that results in unchecked compliance burdens, US Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and US Rep. D...

Oil-price collapse may aggravate producing nations’ other problems

02/05/2015 The recent global crude-oil price plunge could be aggravating underlying problems in Mexico, Colombia, and other Western Hemisphere producing natio...

Goodlatte reintroduces bills to repeal, reform RFS

02/05/2015 Calling it “a true ‘kitchen table’ issue,” US Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) reintroduced a pair of bills to address problems in the federal Renewable ...

Alberta’s premier seeks more North American energy integration

02/05/2015 Better policy integration and cooperation will be needed for Canada, Mexico, and the US to fully realize the North American energy renaissance’s po...

Oil, gas infrastructure investments essential, House panel told

02/04/2015 Investments in oil and gas transportation and storage should move ahead because they are essential in continuing the US economic recovery and North...

EPA suggests DOS reconsider Keystone XL climate impact conclusions

02/03/2015 The US Department of State might want to reconsider its conclusions regarding potential climate impacts from the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pip...

Obama’s proposed fiscal 2016 budget recycles oil tax increases

02/02/2015 US President Barack Obama has proposed his federal budget for fiscal 2016 that he said was designed to help a beleaguered middle class take advanta...
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