A game of chicken is shaping up over the Obama administration’s decision to let the oil industry collect fresh data on energy supplies off the Atlantic Coast.
The Interior Department, over the protests of environmentalists, said in July that it would allow the oil industry to use seismic air cannons to search for oil and gas underneath federal waters in the Atlantic.
But industry trade groups, in new comments to Interior, say that decision means little unless regulators signal that the industry will actually be able to drill for oil if they find it. Otherwise, what’s the incentive to look?
Right now the Atlantic Coast is off-limits to drilling. But oil-and-gas companies want Interior to make clear that the federal 2017-2022 offshore lease sale plan, which is in the early stages of development, will include blocs off the Atlantic Coast states.
The American Petroleum Institute and 10 other groups, in new comments on the plan, say that right now “the timing of the 2017-2022 Five-Year Program development process and industry’s seismic data collection are out of sync.”
They want Interior to include mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions in the draft 2017-2022 program. The groups note that under the current permitting timeline for seismic testing, companies will not be able to collect data until early 2015 at the earliest. Add in the data-processing time, and 2016 would be the earliest that regulators and the industry would have new resource estimates from the testing, they say.
“If the Atlantic [Outer Continental Shelf] is not included in the Draft Proposed Program, then new seismic data will likely not be available since the incentive for companies to collect the data—and the prospect of a future lease sale—will be gone,” state the comments from API, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, the National Ocean Industries Association, the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, and other groups.
An API spokesman said the group has heard that the draft plan could be out by the end of 2014. Interior did not provide a timeline Thursday.
What We're Following See More »
After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."
Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."