API: Offshore lease plan short of vision

July 30, 2012 at 8:18 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- Current U.S. offshore energy efforts aimed at tapping into oil and natural gas aren't sufficient to meet estimated needs, a trade group said.

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said legislation that would expand current lease plans of the U.S. Department of Interior is what's needed for energy security.

"Government projections tell us that oil and natural gas will supply almost 60 percent of our energy in 2035," he said in a statement. "The current 5-year plan proposed by the Department of the Interior is insufficient, ensuring that we will fall further behind what we really should be doing to meet this need."

The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a measure that would open most of the U.S. offshore acreage to oil and natural gas drilling.

A lease sale for areas off the coast of Texas is set for November. The 5-year plan outlined by the Interior Department calls for 12 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska. The U.S. government estimates more than 67 billion barrels of oil and 306 trillion cubic feet of gas are potentially available in the proposed lease areas.

An economist at API, which represents the business interests of energy companies, said the trade group felt the White House wasn't showing leadership with its domestic energy policy, however.

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