Offshore Development Plan for 2017-2011 Released

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released its final plan to guide future energy development for the Nation’s Outer Continental Shelf for 2017-2022.

The Proposed Final Program offers 11 potential lease sales in four planning areas, including 10 sales in the portions of three Gulf of Mexico Program Areas that are not under moratorium and one sale off the coast of Alaska in the Cook Inlet Program Area. The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas planning areas in the Arctic are not included in the Proposed Final Program.

The plan makes available areas containing approximately 70% of the economically recoverable resources in the OCS.

For the Gulf of Mexico, where the vast majority of U.S. offshore oil production now occurs, the program aims to provide greater flexibility for investment. It adopt a new approach to lease sales by offering two annual lease sales for the entire Western, Central, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico acreage not under moratorium.

This is a shift from the traditional approach of one sale per year in each of the Western Gulf and the Central Gulf and periodic sales in the Eastern Gulf.

Areas off the Pacific coast are not included in the 2017-2022 Program. The BOEM said the decision not to include the Pacific in the 2017-2022 Program reflects opposition by Pacific coast states to oil and gas development off their coasts.

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