HOUSTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Independent energy producers focused on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico announced coordination around an alliance aimed at advancing the industry's needs in Washington.
A group of smaller energy companies and industry bodies, including Talos Energy and the National Ocean Industries Association, united under the newly-formed Gulf Energy Alliance. The alliance said it would work to support legislation and regulation that would protect their interests in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Through ongoing education, our objective remains working collaboratively to ensure the Gulf of Mexico regulatory framework protects both the taxpayer and the environment while at the same time facilitating job growth in our industry that keeps Gulf Coast communities strong and the U.S. energy security and supply stable," Talos Energy CEO Tim Duncan said in a statement.
The formation of the Gulf Energy Alliances comes less than a week after the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management published its five-year lease plan for offshore opportunities. Of the 11 potential lease sales offered, 10 are in the Gulf of Mexico and one is offshore Alaska. The final program pulled Arctic waters from consideration.
"The plan focuses lease sales 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," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Friday.
The latest estimate from the U.S. Energy Information Administration put total oil production from the Gulf of Mexico at around 1.6 million barrels per day, which represents about 20 percent of the total output.
Production declines in U.S. shale basins brought on by lower energy prices are offset somewhat by projected gains from the Gulf of Mexico. The EIA said it expected crude oil production offshore to reach 1.9 million barrels per day by late 2017, a level that would be 25 percent higher than last year if estimates prove correct.