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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history this week. The sale will include almost 77 million acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and is scheduled to take place in March 2018.
“In today’s low-price energy environment, providing the offshore industry access to the maximum amount of opportunities possible is part of our strategy to spur local and regional economic dynamism and job creation and a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy dominant,” Secretary Zinke said. “And the economic terms proposed for this sale include a range of incentives to encourage diligent development and ensure a fair return to taxpayers.”
The sale, officially named Proposed Lease Sale 250, will be live-streamed from New Orleans next year. The previous edition also took place in the city in Louisiana, garnering $121 million in high bids, according to World Oil.
“In order to strengthen America’s energy dominance, we must anticipate and plan for our needs for decades to come," Senator Lisa Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, said. "The administration’s decision to move forward with the largest offshore lease sale in our nation’s history is a key part of that effort. Whether in Alaska or the Gulf of Mexico, we should all support responsible development because it creates high-paying jobs, strengthens national security, and keeps energy affordable for our families and businesses.”
Trump campaigned on reviving coal country and supporting the oil and gas industry’s race to reach international markets. The sale would go a long way towards meeting those campaign vows, though drilling in deep waters is expensive and new investments by fossil fuel companies are few and far in between. Three years of low oil prices have done a number on exploration budgets.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…