NEW ORLEANS, May 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. energy portfolio continues to count on the Gulf of Mexico as a "critical component," visiting U.S. Deputy Interior Secretary Mike Connor said.
Connor spent two days in New Orleans visiting oil and gas production facilities in the region as part of the government's quadrennial energy review.
The energy review, established in January, is aimed at developing a multiyear roadmap for federal energy policy.
"The Gulf of Mexico is a critical component of our nation's domestic energy portfolio, and we are committed to working with industry, state officials and local communities to improve and safeguard the infrastructure that supports the region's production and distribution systems," Connor said in a statement Wednesday.
Last month, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced plans to sell more than 21 million acres off the coast of Texas to energy exploration companies in August.
The blocks up for auction are located from nine to 250 miles offshore in water depths ranging from 16 feet to nearly 11,000 feet. BOEM estimates the reserve area could lead to the production of as much as 200 million barrels of oil and 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The U.S. government placed a brief moratorium on deep water oil and gas drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010. Eleven rig workers were killed in an accident that resulted in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.