Or, more accurately, two tales about the same lease sale…
Guest rant by David Middleton
Earlier this year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that all available leases in the Gulf of Mexico would be offered in two area-wide sales each year. This is in contrast to the old practice of offering the leases once a year in two or three separate sales (Western, Central and occasionally Eastern Gulf of Mexico planning areas). The first area-wide sale under Zinke’s plan was held in August, the second will be held in March 2018. Here is the Washington Post describes the March lease sale:
Trump to auction off a vast swath of the Gulf of Mexico to oil companies
The Trump administration made history Tuesday in proposing that nearly 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico be made available for companies wanting to purchase federal oil and gas leases — the largest offering ever in the United States.
In announcing the sale, the Interior Department compared the targeted waters to “about the size of New Mexico” and said the first lease sales off Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are scheduled for March next year. The event will include “all available un-leased areas on the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf,” a statement said.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke first broached such a sale shortly after he took office in March…
This part of the Gulf was the scene of arguably the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent spill of 215 million gallons of crude that fouled beaches from Louisiana to Florida.
Years later, the spill’s effects are still being felt, according to a report by the nonprofit group Oceana.
Scientists have detected hydrocarbons from the well in 90 percent of pelican eggs more than 1,000 miles away in Minnesota, where the birds spend summer after wintering along the gulf. Dolphins living in Barataria, La., have experienced mortality rates 8 percent higher than dolphin populations elsewhere, and their reproduction success dropped 63 percent.
In March, Daryl Fears of the Washington Post said the new leasing plan “appears to mirror a plan offered by his predecessor a few months ago” and that “the plan is similar to a five-year proposal by the Obama administration.” Six month later, Mr. Fears describes it as if President Trump is personally auctioning off “off a vast swath of the Gulf of Mexico to oil companies.” At least Mr. Fears is consistent about one thing: Spending about half of each article mindlessly babbling about the Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill.
Here is a description of the same lease sale from World Oil Magazine…
Secretary Zinke announces largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history
NEW ORLEANS — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced that the Department is proposing the largest oil and gas lease sale ever held in the United States–76,967,935 acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The proposed region-wide lease sale, offering an area about the size of New Mexico, is scheduled for March 2018 and includes all available unleased areas on the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf, surpassing last year’s region-wide lease sale by about one million acres.
“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.”
Proposed Lease Sale 250, which will be livestreamed from New Orleans, will be the second offshore sale under the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. Lease Sale 249, held in New Orleans last August, received $121 million in high bids. In addition to the high bids and rental payments, the Department will receive royalty payments on any future production from these leases. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease revenues are directed to the U.S. Treasury, Gulf Coast states, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Historic Preservation Fund.
“In order to strengthen America’s energy dominance, we must anticipate and plan for our needs for decades to come,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources. “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.”
The estimated amount of resources projected to be developed as a result of the proposed region-wide lease sale ranges from 0.21 to 1.12 Bbbl of oil and from 0.55 to 4.42 Tcf. Most of the activity (up to 83% of future production) from the proposed lease sale is expected to occur in the Central Planning Area.
Proposed Lease Sale 250 includes 14,375 unleased blocks, located from 3 to 230 mi offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and Eastern planning areas in water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 ft (three to 3,400 m). 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.
“American energy production can be competitive while remaining safe and environmentally sound,” said Vincent DeVito, Counselor for Energy Policy at Interior. “People need jobs, the Gulf Coast states need revenue, and Americans do not want to be dependent on foreign oil. We have heard their message loud and clear.”
The lease sale terms include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development in the region. The terms and conditions for Lease Sale 250 in the Proposed Notice of Sale are not final. Different terms and conditions may be employed in the Final Notice of Sale, which will be published at least 30 days before the sale.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates that the OCS contains about 90 Bbbl of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 327 Tcf of undiscovered technically recoverable gas. The Gulf of Mexico OCS, covering about 160 million acres, has technically recoverable resources of over 48 Bbbl of oil and 141 Tcf of gas.
Journalism is supposed to focus on the 5 W’s and 1 H…
Five Ws and One H: The Secret to Complete News Stories
August 5, 2010 Jeremy Porter
If you ever sat through Journalism 101, you know all about the Five Ws and one H. For the rest of you, you may find this concept helpful when preparing interview questions or writing factual news stories. This concept may help you write better news releases too, considering they should contain news.
What are the Five Ws and One H? They are Who, What, Why, When, Where and How. Why are the Five Ws and One H important? Journalism purists will argue your story isn’t complete until you answer all six questions. It’s hard to argue this point, since missing any of these questions leaves a hole in your story. Even if you’re not reporting on the news of the day, this concept could be useful in many professional writing scenarios.
The World Oil article succinctly covers the 5 W’s and 1 H.
- Who: U.S. Department of the Interior.
- What: Area-wide Gulf of Mexico lease sale.
- Why: To develop some of the estimated “90 billion bbl of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 327 Tcf of undiscovered technically recoverable gas” remaining in the
open areas of the Gulf of MexicoOCS.
- Where: New Orleans LA.
- When: March 2018.
- How: Offer all available leases for competitive bidding by oil companies.
The Washington Post, on the other hand, never touched on Why, instead choosing to Whine about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill. The Gulf of Mexico is awash with oil, the vast majority from natural oil seeps. While, some traces of hydrocarbons can still be linked back to the 2010 spill, by August 2010, most of the oil was gone… Either recovered by clean up procedures, evaporated, burned and/or consumed by microbes. Yet, this is the focus of the Washington Post’s “journalist.”?
All open leases in the highlighted areas will be available for bidding: