IPAA Comments on Importance of Offshore Leasing for America’s Energy Future and Security Needs

IPAA Comments on Importance of Offshore Leasing for America’s Energy Future and Security Needs

“At a time when the nation is suffering from skyrocketing energy prices and is increasingly turning to foreign nations to supply our energy needs, scheduling zero offshore lease sales for the next five years would be a devastating blow to the U.S. energy industry and do irreparable harm…” 

WASHINGTON – The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) submitted comments this week to the Department of Interior noting how continuing offshore leasing is critical to the United States remaining in control of its own energy future, and that we must maximize our domestic energy production potential. Today, Thursday, October 6, is the deadline for submitting comments on Interior’s 2023-2028 “Proposed Program” for the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program).  

For the first time since issuing programs were required in the early 1980s, Interior’s proposal leaves open the possibility of scheduling no offshore oil and natural gas lease sales over the next five years. This proposal comes at a time when Americans are facing the repercussions of dependence on foreign oil. A key way to ensure Americans have access to affordable energy is by producing it domestically through resources including offshore oil and natural gas as mandated by the requirements of the OCS Lands Act. 

IPAA’s comments on the proposed program detail that, “In 2021, offshore production accounted for 15% of U.S. oil production1 and 2% of U.S. gas production.  A recent EIAP study projects that precluding lease sales until 2028 would result in a 33% decrease – 885,000 fewer barrels per day – in offshore oil and natural gas production by 2036. Inevitably, this would further exacerbate many of the current negative trends and pricing issues our nation is already facing.  

“While the Biden Administration has intently focused on addressing climate concerns and expressed its intention to make oil and natural gas obsolete, independent analysis from the Energy Information Administration has shown that oil and natural gas will be necessary to meet America’s energy needs for the foreseeable future. When we accept that reality, the question becomes whether we want to strengthen our energy security and maintain our role as a global energy leader by producing that oil and natural gas here in America or become reliant on foreign nations.         

“Continued American offshore exploration, development, and production will provide greater economic and energy security benefits to U.S. companies, workers, and consumers. Additionally, Gulf of Mexico offshore production is recognized as some of the least carbon-intensive production in the world.  

“IPAA represents numerous offshore producers as well as service companies that work in partnership with producers. Offshore production is a capital-intensive industry where drilling one well can cost upwards of ten times the cost of an onshore well. Offshore operators rely on certainty for the multi-year process. A five-year gap would have devastating long-term impacts to not only producers but also the service and supply companies, who would no longer have contracts for work as a result.        

“The Biden Administration is in the unique position to be the first in recent history, either Republican or Democrat, to reject the need and benefit of a strong domestic energy sector through continued offshore leasing and development. The United States must remain in control of our own energy future by maximizing our domestic energy production potential. It is incumbent that the 2023-2028 Final National OCS Program includes the 10 proposed Gulf of Mexico lease sales and the lease sale proposed for the Cook Inlet in Alaska…” 

Read the full IPAA comments here.