Trump Proposes To Open Nearly All US Waters To Offshore Drilling

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Former President Obama placed the latter two regions under a drilling moratorium in the last weeks of his presidency.

In unveiling the administration's five-year blueprint, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the USA can be a reliable, clean and safe supplier for growing worldwide oil demand.

The plan proposes for "responsibly developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024, which proposes to make over 90 percent of the total OCS acreage and more than 98 percent of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development".

"This is going to be an awesome plan".

The administration made history last month with its proposal to open almost 77 million more acres in the Gulf of Mexico to companies wanting to purchase federal oil and gas leases, the largest offering in US history. West Texas Intermediate, a benchmark for oil prices, went up 0.4% following the announcement. The plan would also allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska. Environmental groups, coastal governors and congressional representatives from both parties denounced the plan, saying it will cause untold harm. The 4.9 million-barrel Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst oil spill in USA history, stirred new and broad opposition to offshore development.

But while industry groups applauded the announcement, new offshore drilling in these areas is unlikely to occur anytime soon and some have commented that this is a largely symbolic announcement (or even "grandstanding"). The effects of the spill are still being felt more than seven years later. "It will be interesting to see how that all plays out given the long timelines you need for these projects". There are no current leases in the Atlantic, and the last sale was in 1983.

California is the nation's third largest oil producer, with more than 186 million barrels produced in 2016, according to the state Department of Conservation.

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"I think in the long term if there is more production, the oil consumption is going to be needed anyway".

For now, oil and gas companies are putting the issue of stranded assets on the back burner. In some cases, the seismic data on oil and gas reserves beneath the waters is 30 years old. But he said the federal government has considerable sway over offshore drilling, and it's unclear which side would prevail. The Atlantic Seaboard is one of them.

The proposal comes less than a week after the Trump administration proposed to rewrite or kill rules on offshore oil and gas drilling imposed after the 2010 BP spill. "For the first time in decades, the waters, wildlife and local economies of coastal parks like Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina and Channel Islands National Park in California will be at risk to the dangers of drilling".

"Hell hath no fury like the Jersey Shore threatened by big oil", said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action.

A Chevron spokeswoman, Veronica Flores-Paniagua, said the company is happy with Trump's move and wants to continue to explore parts of Gulf, and also to better understand the geology of the Atlantic Seaboard.

Smith said Shell pursues "economically resilient projects that are scoped, designed and safely operated to withstand the unpredictable ups and downs of the oil market" and added that "deep water is a growth priority".

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