Guest post by David Middleton
Edit: The title has been changed because after giving it some thought, I decided that it could be construed as misleading.
Old title: Trump’s Cavalry Opens Entire Gulf of Mexico to Oil & Gas Leasing!
The Promise Keeper continues to deliver…
Secretary Zinke Announces Proposed 73-Million Acre Oil and Natural Gas Lease Sale for Gulf of Mexico
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
All available areas in federal waters will be offered in first region-wide sale under new Five Year Program
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced that the Department will offer 73 million acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for oil and gas exploration and development. The proposed region-wide lease sale scheduled for August 16, 2017 would include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
“Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy independent,” Secretary Zinke said. “The Gulf is a vital part of that strategy to spur economic opportunities for industry, states, and local communities, to create jobs and home-grown energy and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
Proposed Lease Sale 249, scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans, will be the first offshore sale under the new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022 (Five Year Program). Under this new program, ten region-wide lease sales are scheduled for the Gulf, where the resource potential and industry interest are high, and oil and gas infrastructure is well established. Two Gulf lease sales will be held each year and include all available blocks in the combined Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas.
The estimated amount of resources projected to be developed as a result of the proposed region-wide lease sale ranges from 0.211 to 1.118 billion barrels of oil and from 0.547 to 4.424 trillion cubic feet of gas. The sale could potentially result in 1.2 to 4.2 percent of the forecasted cumulative OCS oil and gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the activity (up to 83% of future production) of the proposed lease sale is expected to occur in the Central Planning Area.
Lease Sale 249 will include about 13,725 unleased blocks, located from three to 230 miles offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern planning areas in water depths ranging from nine to more than 11,115 feet (three to 3,400 meters). Excluded from the lease sale are blocks subject to the Congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006; blocks that are adjacent to or beyond the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the area known as the northern portion of the Eastern Gap; and whole blocks and partial blocks within the current boundary of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Although everything within 125 miles of the Florida coast will remain off limits until at least 2022, or Congress amends the GOMESA… Trump just opened up some of the purple area (Eastern Gulf);
Most of the Alaska OCS is no longer green. In December 2016, Obama prohibited new leasing in the Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea areas.
He also prohibited leasing in the “canyons and seamounts” (yellow) areas on the upper map…
While this is a step in the right direction, Trump has a long way to go.
More Dishonest Reporting from The Washington Post
Of course, The Washington Post idiotically claims that Trump’s leasing plan is the same as Obama’s leasing plan…
Trump’s new Gulf of Mexico oil and gas drilling proposal looks a lot like Obama’s
By Darryl Fears March 6
The Trump administration on Monday announced an offshore oil and gas drilling proposal in the Gulf of Mexico that appears to mirror a plan offered by his predecessor a few months ago.
In one of his first acts after last week’s Senate confirmation, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed leasing 73 million acres off Florida, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi over five years starting in August. The offer includes more than 13,700 lease blocks extending three miles to 230 miles offshore, according to an Interior Department statement.
“Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy independent,” Zinke said in the statement. “The Gulf is a vital part of that strategy to spur economic opportunities for industry, states and local communities, to create jobs and homegrown energy and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
But the plan is similar to a five-year proposal by the Obama administration to lease 66 million acres in the same location, the gulf’s “Western, Central and Eastern planning areas” where water is as shallow as nine feet and as deep as 11,000 feet. As he prepared to leave office, President Obama banned drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans for the next five years, but allowed it in the gulf with lease plans offered primarily off gulf states other than Florida.
Obama’s interior secretary, Sally Jewell, said the proposal’s leases were focused “in the best places — those with the highest resource potential, lowest conflict and established infrastructure — and removes regions that are simply not right to lease.” The gulf, an area that has seen intense drilling, would see more compared with the Arctic and Atlantic, where little drilling occurs.
73 million acres is not identical to 66 million acres… Particularly when the 7 million new acres have been off limits for many years. And the new program will offer all available leases in the Western, Central and Eastern Gulf in two annual area-wide sales, rather than single annual individual planning area sales. This bit from the WaPo “journalist” is mindbogglingly idiotic:
The gulf, an area that has seen intense drilling, would see more compared with the Arctic and Atlantic, where little drilling occurs.
Areas that have been generally off limits to drilling or subject to intense regulatory malfeasance would tend to see little drilling. I almost attributed this idiotic statement to former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, before I noticed it wasn’t in quotes.
Keeping up with its normally abysmal journalistic standards, The Washington Post’s idiotic article was accompanied by two photos…
So… An article which dishonestly claims that 73 million acres “looks a lot like” 66 million acres, chooses photos of two extremely rare drilling and production disasters to accompany an article about lease sales.
Of the nearly 53,000 wells drilled in the US Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico since 1947, there has been exactly one accident of the Deepawater Horizon’s magnitude and very few others that even come close. That’s 570,446,881 measured depth feet of drilling, 108,039 miles.
“From 1 January 1980 through 31 December 2012” there were 196 “blowouts/well releases” in the US Gulf of Mexico. 32,132 wells were drilled during that same time period. That is a 0.6% well control incident rate. 99.4% of the wells were drilled without well control incidents. And The Washington Post chose to accompany this article with two of the worst well control incidents in recent history???
Just prior to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, this used to be on the Minerals Management Service (MMS) website:
Haven’t OCS operations historically spilled a great deal of oil?
No. Since 1980, OCS operators have produced 4.7 billion barrels (bbl) of oil and spilled only 0.001 percent of this oil, or 1 bbl for every 81,000 bbl produced. In the last 15 years, there have been no spills greater than 1,000 bbl from an OCS platform or drilling rig. The spill risk related to a diesel spill from drilling operations is even less. During the 10-year period (1976-1985) in which data were collected, there were 80 reported diesel spills greater than one barrel associated with drilling activities, compared with 11,944 wells drilled, or a 0.7 percent probability of occurrence. For diesel spills greater than 50 bbls, only 15 spills have occurred, or a 0.1 percent probability.
Natural seepage of oil in the Gulf of Mexico (unrelated to natural gas and oil industry operations) is far more extensive. Researchers have estimated a natural seepage rate of about 120,000 bbl per year from one area (23,000 square kilometers) offshore of Louisiana.
Needless to say, this disappeared from the MMS (now BOEM) website shortly after the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
Journalists and climate “scientists” seem to share a common trait: Always portray the worst case scenario as “business as usual.” Hence the tendency to use RCP 8.5 to project imminent climate catastrophes and the use of Deepwater Horizon imagery in articles about normal activities in offshore exploration and production. That said, the movie Deepwater Horizon was very good. This Gulf of Mexico geoscientist gives it . On the other hand, the WaPo gets .