Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Interior Dept 2012-2017 Offshore Oil & Gas Plan

Secretary Salazar Announces 2012-2017 Offshore Oil and Gas Development Program

Proposal makes available more than 75% of estimated undiscovered oil and gas resources on U.S. Outer Continental Shelf

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced on Tuesday the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, which makes more than 75 percent of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources estimated in federal offshore areas available for exploration and development.  It schedules 15 potential lease sales for the 2012-2017 period – 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska.

The Center supports the overall plan, but opposes expansion into America's Arctic Ocean region because the remote location would significantly hinder response efforts in the case of a blowout. The Center opposed the Obama administration's pre-BP disaster offfshore plan that proposed expansion into the eastern Gulf off the coast of Florida, off the east coast and off the coast of California.  The Center also recognizes that the current lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico are proceeding at an aggressive pace.

The Proposed Program also reflects the need for a regionally tailored approach to offshore development that accounts for issues such as current knowledge of resource potential, adequacy of infrastructure including oil spill response capabilities, and the need for a balanced approach to our use of natural resources. The majority of lease sales are scheduled for areas in the Gulf of Mexico, where resource potential and interest is greatest and where infrastructure is most mature.

The Proposed Program includes lease sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, but the single sales are scheduled late in the 5-year period to facilitate further scientific study and data collection, and longer term planning for spill response preparedness and infrastructure. The proposal suggests that any lease sales in the Arctic be tailored to protect sensitive environmental resources, including those accessed by Native Alaskans for subsistence uses.

For more information on the proposed program

The Proposed Program will be open for significant public comment and consideration. Following public comment and review periods for the proposed program, as well as the accompanying Draft Environmental Impact Statement, a Proposed Final Program (PFP) and a Final EIS will be submitted to the President and Congress.

The OCS Lands Act requires that the Secretary of the Interior prepare a 5-year program that includes a schedule of oil and gas lease sales and indicates the size, timing and location of proposed leasing activity as determined by the Secretary to best meet national energy needs for the 5-year period following its approval, while addressing a range of economic, environmental and social considerations.

The Proposed Program is consistent with the Obama Administration’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, which aims to promote domestic energy security and reduce oil imports by a third by 2025 through a comprehensive national energy policy. More information.

See below to view the items being released in coordination with the Proposed Program. These materials will also be available tomorrow in the Federal Register’s Reading Room for inspection.:

OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program

Draft Programmatic Environment Impact Statement

Schedule of 2011 Public Hearings

BOEM Fact Sheet: 2011 Assessment of Undiscovered Technically Recoverable Oil and Gas Resources

BOEM Fact Sheet: Economic Analysis Methodology for the 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017

OCS maps:

Continental United States

Alaska Planning Areas

(DOI Press Release)

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