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USA: API Upstream Director Calls for Expanded Five-Year Offshore Plan

API’s Group Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito told reporters yesterday that today’s Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale would help the nation develop its offshore oil and natural gas resources but that there was also a need for a expanded five-year offshore plan if the U.S. goal is a stronger energy future for the nation:

“Every lease sale is important, but more important for our energy future than any individual sale is our nation’s broader energy policy framework. That, unfortunately, has been inadequate. The administration’s proposed five-year offshore leasing plan for 2012 through 2017 is a case in point. It would limit offshore development to where it historically has always been: parts of the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Alaska. It would restrict opportunities when it should be expanding them. It would not help prepare us well for our energy future.”

“With the right policies, we could secure at home much more of the energy supplies future generations of Americans will need. We also could create vast numbers of additional new jobs for Americans – perhaps one million more in seven years – and deliver billions more revenue to our government. Offshore leasing – and expansion of offshore leasing – are key parts of that equation.

“Oil and natural gas development is a long-term endeavor. Offshore development, in particular, takes many years. From the time a five-year offshore plan is issued to when production actually begins can take well over a decade. The proposed Department of the Interior five-year plan is insufficient, and each year we implement it, we will fall further behind what we really should be doing. The administration ought to begin working on a new plan immediately.”

API represents more than 500 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America’s energy, supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers more than $86 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested more than $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

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Iceland Calls for Offshore Exploration Bids

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The National Energy Authority of Iceland (NEA), yesterday, announced the second Licensing Round for hydrocarbon exploration and production licences on the Icelandic Continental Shelf. The offer will be open from October 3, 2011 until April 2, 2011.

The blocks on offer in the Second Licensing Round are located in the Dreki Area, northeast of Iceland, from 67°00′N to 68°30′N and 11°30′W to 6°20′W. The area covers 42,700 square kilometers. Water depths range mostly from 800-2000 meters, which is well within the reach of currently available and tested technology for undersea oil drilling.

The Dreki Area is a part of the Jan Mayen Ridge micro-continent, which was separated from the continental shelf of Greenland and Norway by plate tectonic movements 45-60 million years ago. Seismic surveys and other geophysical measurements indicate that oil and gas could be found in the Dreki Area as they have been in adjacent and geologically similar areas. Further research, including exploratory drilling, is necessary to verify whether oil or gas exists in the Dreki Area.

There will be stringent requirements on security and work safety as well as on environmental protection similar to the requirements in the neighbouring countries. Use of the best available technology will be demanded to reduce the environmental impact and risk of accidents and mishaps.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment has been completed for the Dreki Area and considerable research has been done on the marine biosphere, climate and sea conditions in the area. There is no danger of sea ice under present climatic conditions and the wave heights are lower than off the west-coast of Norway. This research is important in evaluating the impact of oil exploration. No major obstacles were found to oil exploration.

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