NOIA president urges congressional action in response to Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 261

World Oil Staff December 20, 2023

(WO) — In a pivotal moment for American energy policy, National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Erik Milito emphasizes the urgency of Congressional intervention following the conclusion of Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 261. Milito issued the following statement:

"Today signifies a critical point in American energy policy. The U.S. offshore oil and gas industry is stepping up and making the investments vital to enhance our energy, economic, and national security for decades to come. However, the offshore industry’s commitment to American energy security and affordability comes at a time of significant and unnecessary uncertainty. Without Congressional intervention, this is the final lease sale until at least 2025. In our forward-thinking industry, securing new lease blocks is vital for exploring and developing resources crucial to the U.S. economy. Additional offshore acreage is necessary to sustain and expand energy production in a region known for among the lowest carbon intensity barrels globally.

"The Gulf of Mexico is a prime economic engine and investment area, and this was the last chance for companies to secure leases in the near term.

“Adding to the uncertainty, the administration has not only been unwilling to endorse policies promoting Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production, but it has actively pursued measures discouraging domestic offshore energy production. Over the past three years, the Administration has followed its stated agenda of restricting offshore energy development with tangible actions that include leasing pauses, sale cancellations, permit delays for geophysical research, and arbitrary restrictions related to the Rice’s whale. Potential future actions by the administration could introduce further unwarranted delays or obstacles to domestic energy production. Given recent political dynamics and actions, such complications are well within the realm of possibility and should be of concern to all Americans continuing to grapple with the high costs of inflation.

“In future years without scheduled lease sales, we remain concerned about the potential shift of investment away from the U.S. to energy projects around the world. Historically the U.S. offshore energy regulatory structure has been a competitive advantage. The historic consistency and predictability of the U.S. offshore regulatory framework has resulted in the production of more than 1 million barrels of oil per day since 1997, revenues to the government of more than $120 billion, billions of dollars in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, and production of some of the lowest carbon intensity barrels of oil in the world. However, without opportunities for investment in new leasing we are concerned that American jobs, American energy production, our national security, and environmental progress will be at risk.

"Without annual opportunities for investment here in the U.S., the investment necessary to fuel the U.S. and global economies will simply shift to other parts of the world, including regions with potentially lower environmental standards and higher emissions.

“The nation's energy, economic, and security future hinges on annual lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico to secure new acreage. We urge Congress to promptly act on and pass the numerous bicameral and bipartisan bills that enhance predictability and certainty for American offshore energy leasing. Legislation like the Offshore Energy Security Act and its House companion, the BRIDGE Production Act, provides essential solutions to fortify our nation's energy outlook.”

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