Trump signs executive order to begin reversing Obama OCS decisions

April 28, 2017

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that reverses his predecessor’s Arctic offshore oil and gas leasing ban and directs Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke to allow responsible development of other US offshore areas’ energy resources. Oil and gas trade associations and other business groups immediately hailed the president’s Apr. 28 action. Environmental organizations and California, Oregon, and Washington’s Democratic governors promptly condemned it.

“This is a great day for American workers and families, and today we’re unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying American energy jobs,” Trump said at the White House ceremony, which several industry association leaders attended. “Our country is blessed with incredible natural resources, including abundant offshore oil and natural gas reserves. But the federal government has kept 94% of these offshore areas closed for exploration and production.”

Trump said his order also directs Zinke to reconsider other Interior regulations “that slow job creation.” Trump said, “Finally, this order will enable better scientific study of our offshore resources and research that has blocked everything from happening for far too long. You notice it doesn't get blocked for other nations. It only gets blocked for our nation.”

Zinke reportedly said in a press briefing the previous night that the process will be long and complex, and could consume 2 years before new areas could be opened for leasing. But he added that federal offshore oil and gas revenue fell by $15 billion during the Obama administration, due in part to plunging prices but also from so much of the OCS being off-limits to producers.

Look first at eastern GOM

American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said, “We are pleased to see this administration prioritizing responsible US energy development and recognizing the benefits it will bring to American consumers and businesses.”

The US should particularly look at developing energy resources in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Gerard said. “Exploration in this area is critical to our national security, and we continue to see our neighbors in Mexico and Cuba pursue these opportunities. The eastern gulf is in close proximity to existing production and infrastructure, and opening it would most quickly spur investment and economic activity.”

National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall B. Luthi said, “This executive order can be used to craft a long-term, consistent energy blueprint to provide jobs, state and federal revenue, and economic and energy security for America.”

Daniel T. Naatz, senior vice-president, government relations and political affairs at the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said, “In 2009, investment offshore by America’s independent producers accounted for $38 billion in economic benefits, more than 200,000 jobs, and $10 billion in federal and state revenue and royalty payments. These are the real, tangible benefits of safely developing our vast offshore resources. Today’s action by the new administration puts us one step closer to achieving these great benefits once again.”

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Read entire article at Oil & Gas Journal.

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