Interior Finalizes Plan to Make All Highest-Resource Areas in the U.S. Offshore Available for Oil & Gas Leasing
Next Five-Year Strategy Includes Frontier Areas in the Alaska Arctic
WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy Beaudreau today announced the release of a proposed final offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2012-2017 that makes all areas with the highest-known resource potential – including frontier areas in the Alaska Arctic – available for oil and gas leasing in order to further reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.
Consistent with the President’s direction, the Obama administration’s Proposed Final U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program makes available areas focused on the most likely recoverable oil and gas resources that the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf is estimated to hold. It schedules 15 potential lease sales for the five-year period, including 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska.
“Put simply, this program opens the vast majority of known offshore oil and gas resources for development over the next five years and includes a cautious but forward-looking leasing strategy for the Alaska Arctic,” said Secretary Salazar. “President Obama has made clear his commitment to expanding responsible domestic oil and gas production in America as part of this all-of-the-above energy strategy, and with comprehensive safety standards in place, this plan will help us to continue to grow America’s energy economy and further reduce our dependence on foreign oil, while protecting marine, costal and human health.”
Today’s announcement builds on a series of actions taken by the Obama administration to meet President Obama’s directive to continue to expand safe and responsible production of America’s important domestic resources. Successful offshore lease sales held by the Department of the Interior in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico in recent months have made available approximately 60 million acres of resource-rich areas for industry leasing that will bring additional domestic resources to market.
The Proposed Final Program is designed to account for the distinct needs of the regions across the OCS, and considers a range of factors, including current and developing information about resource potential, the status of resource development and emergency response infrastructure, recognition of regional interest and concerns, and the need for a balanced approach to the use of the Nation’s shared natural resources.