For Immediate Release Contact: Nicolette Nye
July 14, 2008 (202) 347-6900
NOIA Applauds Lifting of Executive Prohibition of Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling
WASHINGTON – The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) commends today’s historic action by President George W. Bush which lifts the 18-year-old Executive Withdrawal of much of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for oil and gas exploration and drilling.
“The President took a major step today toward reversing a flawed public policy that for decades has prevented energy supply from keeping pace with increasing demand,” said Tom Fry, president of NOIA.
About 85 percent of the OCS has been off limits to hydrocarbon development for nearly three decades. In addition to today’s revocation of the Presidential Withdrawal, a 26-year-old Congressional moratorium on hydrocarbon development must also be lifted in order to fully open up the OCS to oil and natural gas exploration and production.
“While the President’s move will not solve all of the nation’s energy challenges, it sends a strong signal to Congress that it is time to end the annual Congressional moratoria,” said Fry. “It also acknowledges growing public support for increased domestic offshore production of hydrocarbons.”
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates that there are 18 billion barrels of untapped oil and 76.5 trillion cubic feet of untapped natural gas in the portion of the OCS currently off limits to oil and gas production. “Those estimates are likely conservative, since the very policies that have put the majority of the OCS off limits to hydrocarbon development have prevented industry from using modern technology to assess untapped resources,” said Fry. “ In short, industry is relying on estimates based on 1970’s technology.”
The 15 percent of Outer Continental Shelf currently open to hydrocarbon exploration and development supplies 27 percent of America’s domestic oil production and about 15 percent of our domestic natural gas production.
“We are the only nation in the world that consistently limits access to our own domestic resources, despite a long record of safe and environmentally-responsible exploration and production of offshore oil and gas,”Fry said. “In light of rapidly growing global demand for hydrocarbons, and the resulting negative impacts on the American economy and overall quality of life, the locking up of U.S. energy resources makes absolutely no sense.”
NOIA is the only national trade association representing all segments of the offshore industry with an interest in the exploration and production of energy resources on the nation’s outer continental shelf. The NOIA membership comprises more than 300 companies engaged in business activities ranging from producing to drilling, engineering to marine and air transport, offshore construction to equipment manufacture and supply, telecommunications to finance and insurance.