OREANDA-NEWS. May 20, 2016. API called on the federal government to align its offshore leasing program to reflect Americas new role as a global energy superpower and focus on the opportunities this creates for the country. API Executive Vice President Louis Finkel addressed flaws in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Managements 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program during a press briefing ahead of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

The United States needs forward-looking energy policy, said Finkel. The U.S. has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world thanks to development that has taken place mostly on private and state lands. At the same time, thanks to industry efforts, methane emissions are down significantly as well as carbon and other air emissions, all while energy production has been going up. 

Today, 87 percent of federal offshore areas remain off limits to oil and natural gas production. The Department of the Interior removed the Atlantic portion of the leasing program during the draft portion of the program development earlier this year, leaving only offshore Alaska as the area with the most potential for new oil and natural gas resources. However, the plan is not yet finalized, and leasing areas have not been confirmed. 

Leaving out offshore Alaska would put the U.S. at a serious global competitive disadvantage, considering that Russia, Iran, Norway and other countries are moving rapidly to develop oil and gas resources, said Finkel. We must continue to think ahead, explore and develop new areas to protect U.S. energy security for generations to come.

American consumers, American businesses and future generations need energy programs from the Interior Department to align with todays energy realities.

Arctic offshore energy development could add 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to Americas proven energy portfolio and create more than 54,000 jobs across the country, according to recent studies. Its estimated that the Beaufort and Chukchi seas have more technically recoverable oil and natural gas than the Atlantic and Pacific coasts combined. 

API thanked Congress for focusing on the important issues surrounding energy and the Department of Interiors 5-year plan.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. APIs more than 650 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nations energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 30 million Americans.