Source: The Barrel Blog | Brian Scheid, Senior Editor | December 28, 2016
In July 2014, as the Obama administration was really beginning to work through its future plan for offshore oil and gas leasing, the industry was hopeful that the plan would include expanded drilling in nearly all US Gulf of Mexico waters, much of offshore Alaska and even off the East Coast.
Some in the industry were quietly optimistic that President Barack Obama’s Interior Department would give serious consideration to opening some of the Pacific Ocean to drilling in the 2017 to 2022 offshore leasing plan, although this was viewed as a serious longshot.
“From our long-term energy planning standpoint, both from the government and the industry, it’s important to keep options on the table and not take them off the table,” Erik Milito, the American Petroleum Institute’s upstream director, said at the time.
Those hopes were dashed and a years-long push by the offshore industry appears to be for naught as the Obama administration last week not only scrapped planned lease sales in the Atlantic and Arctic, but also moved last week to permanently bar drilling in the majority of US Arctic waters and a large chunk of the Atlantic.
The move may ultimately be at the heart of a, likely, multi-year legal battle between the offshore industry and environmentalists. It has complicated President-elect Donald Trump’s ability to increase production in federal waters, one of his few, clear energy policy goals of his presidential campaign. It may also launch a new legislative effort by Alaska’s congressional delegation.
But, looking forward, it also raises the question: Will Trump want to burn political capital, federal resources and time to lift an offshore drilling prohibition at a time when the industry is not looking to immediately expand its offshore drilling activities?
To complete article please follow the Barrel Blog link.