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The Biden Administration’s true intentions regarding offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico are being called into question by House Republicans, a Tuesday hearing has revealed, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Minnesota Republican representative Pet Sauber, chair of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, asked the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to commit to holding the oil and gas lease sales that are scheduled to begin in 2025.
The targets are questionable because a 2025 oil and gas lease sale typically would require 18-24 months of environmental reviews that can only begin after the offshore leasing program is finalized—which it isn’t.
Liz Klein, BOEM director, failed to commit, saying only, “I don’t know I’ll be here in 2025, so I can’t say what will happen at that time.”
The hearing focused heavily on the Biden Administration’s failure to hold offshore drilling lease sales in a quantity that matches previous administrations. Republicans also criticized the Biden Administration’s scaled-down 5-year lease program.
“The 5-year program will only serve to outsource our energy production to OPEC+ nations,” Representative Bruce Westerman, Arkansas, accused. “President Biden has obstructed the offshore lease program at every turn.”
Under the terms of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden Administration is required to hold offshore oil and gas lease sales in order to hold offshore wind lease sales in the following 12 months—and it has currently has a goal to build out 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. Tying oil and gas lease sales to offshore wind lease sales was put into the IRA courtesy of Senator Joe Manchin.
According to Klein, the proposed oil and gas lease sales will be sufficient to allow it to meet its wind targets.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.