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Biden Administration Signals No Gulf Of Mexico Leases Through 2023

The Biden Administration appears not to plan to hold any lease sales for offshore oil and gas areas in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a draft budget proposal analyzed by Bloomberg.

In the budget plan for the fiscal year 2023, the U.S. Administration expects oil and gas rents and bonuses of just $25 million in the fiscal year 2023, compared to $395.5 million for fiscal year 2022. The drop of $370 million, Bloomberg notes, is the typical haul for the government from two oil and gas lease auctions in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Estimates related to future leasing are placeholders only, in recognition of the dynamics of pending litigation and appeals, as well as the Interior Department’s ongoing development of the five-year plan for the offshore program,” Interior spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz told Bloomberg.

The Biden Administration has delayed or stopped work on federal oil and gas leases and permits following a court ruling that struck down the Administration’s “social cost of carbon” metric to account for climate risk when holding lease sales or issuing permits.

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) released a new analysis outlining the potential economic consequences of delaying the Department of the Interior’s five-year program for leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. The next five-year offshore leasing program must be in place by July 1, 2022, but is well behind schedule, and no offshore lease sales can be held unless DOI implements a new program, the API and NOIA said. A delayed five-year program could jeopardize an average of $5 billion in U.S. GDP, they added.

“A delay in the offshore oil and gas leasing program could mean nearly 500,000 barrels per day produced here in the US. At a time of geopolitical uncertainty and rapidly rising energy prices, Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production is more important than ever,” NOIA said.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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