Oil Industry Threatens to Take Its Underwater Air Guns and Go Home

A supply boat, lower left, passes an oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico May 26, 2010. Offshore oil production and drilling structures dot the Louisiana coastline.    UPI/A.J. Sisco..
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Ben Geman
Aug. 14, 2014, 9:55 a.m.

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 »
HE ADMITS TO A SETTLEMENT
Pelosi Calls for Ethics Investigation of Conyers
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation of Rep. John Conyers, amidst reports that the Michigan Democrat settled sexual harassment charges. "My office resolved the allegations — with an express denial of liability — in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation," Conyers admitted, after first denying any knowledge of the charges.

Source:
TO BE VOTED ON NEXT MONTH
Pai Officially Announces Intent to Scrap Net Neutrality Rules
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
SAYS HE’S UNAWARE OF ACCUSATIONS
Conyers Denies Settling Harassment Claims
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
SPEAKER SAYS IN LETTER
Mugabe Resigns, Ending Impeachment Debate
7 hours ago
THE LATEST
HAITIANS TO BE MOST AFFECTED
White House to End TPS Program
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration is ending a humanitarian program that has allowed some 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States since an earthquake ravaged their country in 2010, Homeland Security officials said on Monday. Haitians with what is known as Temporary Protected Status will be expected to leave the United States by July 2019 or face deportation. ... About 320,000 people now benefit from the Temporary Protected Status program, which was signed into law by President George Bush in 1990."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login