NOIA Criticizes DOI Report on “Idle” Offshore Leases


For Immediate Release:  Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Contact:  Nicolette Nye, (202) 347-6900,


NOIA Criticizes DOI Report on “Idle” Offshore Leases


Washington, D.C. – The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) again criticized the overall premise of an Interior Department report issued yesterday on “unused” oil and gas leases. 

In considering the report, it should be noted that:

  • Claims that the offshore industry is intentionally idling production of precious energy resources ignore the fact that it takes years of mapping, testing, permitting, exploratory drilling and construction, among other steps, to bring production online.
  • Offshore oil and gas leases are offered for terms ranging from 5 to 10 years, in recognition of the long lead time required and general uncertainty inherent in bringing a prospect to production. 
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars are generally required in the deepwater offshore to bring a leased prospect to production.  The fact is that existing federal laws already require that companies must achieve production within the timeframe of their lease, or relinquish that lease.  Companies paying millions in bonus bids to successfully acquire those leases also pay annual rental payments in the interim until they either choose to relinquish the prospect, because they do not believe they can produce in economic quantities, or are successful in achieving production. 


NOIA believes it would be far more productive to focus on steps that could be taken such as those outlined in active legislative proposals in Congress (such as HR 1229, passed by the House last year and opposed by the Administration) which would help provide a more efficient regulatory approval process for permitting steps that add to the production timelines.  Steps, such as these, would ensure efficiency while sacrificing neither safety nor environmental protection.  


NOIA is the only national trade association representing all segments of the offshore industry with an interest in the exploration and production of both traditional and renewable energy resources on the nation’s outer continental shelf.  NOIA’s mission is to secure reliable access and a fair regulatory and economic environment for the companies that develop the nation’s valuable offshore energy resources in an environmentally responsible manner. The NOIA membership comprises more than 275 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, and renewable energy.

National Ocean Industries Association
1120 G Street, NW • Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 202.347.6900 | Email: