US opens new areas of Gulf of Mexico to drilling

Jun 21, 2012
Oil rigs seen from the Pemex Ku-S oil processing center in the Gulf of Mexico, pictured in 2010. The US government offered up new areas of the central Gulf of Mexico for drilling for the first time since the 2010 BP oil spill and received $1.7 billion in winning bids, officials said.

The US government offered up new areas of the central Gulf of Mexico for drilling for the first time since the 2010 BP oil spill and received $1.7 billion in winning bids, officials said Wednesday.

Environmental groups tried to block the long-awaited sale by filing a lawsuit Tuesday arguing that it will endanger the already damaged ecosystem.

"The government is gambling with the Gulf by encouraging even more offshore drilling in the same exceedingly that have already proven to be treacherous, rather than investing in safer clean energy that creates jobs without risking lives and livelihoods," said Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for North America at Oceana, one of five groups filing suit.

"This move sets us up for another disastrous oil spill, threatening more human lives, livelihoods, industries and marine life, including endangered species, in the greedy rush to expand ."

The Obama administration said it conducted a "" of the impact of the 2010 spill prior to opening up new areas to leasing as part of a plan to expand "safe and responsible" domestic production.

"This sale, part of the president's all-of-the-above , is good news for American jobs, good news for the Gulf economy, and will bring additional domestic resources to market," Secretary of the Interior said in a statement.

Officials estimate that energy companies will be able to recover between 800 million and 1.6 billion barrels of oil and 3.3 to 6.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas if the tracts are fully developed.

The had offered more than 39 million acres of new tracts ranging from three to more than 230 miles (give to 370 kilometers off the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi in depths ranging from 10 to more than 11,200 feet (3 to 3,400 meters).

It received winning bids on 2.4 million acres.

The sale comes six months after the government opened up 21 million acres -- an area about the size of South Carolina -- in the western Gulf of Mexico and received $337 million in winning bids for over a million acres off the coast of Texas.

The April 20, 2010 explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers, blackened beaches in five US states and devastated the Gulf Coast's tourism and fishing industries.

It took 87 days to cap BP's runaway well 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) below the surface that spewed some 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil into the .

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User comments : 9

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Birger
3 / 5 (2) Jun 21, 2012
"...a plan to expand "safe and responsible" domestic production." Yeah, sure.
It would be nice to believe that authorities sometimes learn from past mistakes. But money talks.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2012
I guess this means that the U.S. will be able to export even more gasoline than it does now.
Noumenon
2.5 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2012
I guess this means that the U.S. will be able to export even more gasoline than it does now.


So what. It's a global market. I would accept a national security angle, but that concern buying, not selling.

EnvironMentalist have it all wrong. With their endless supply of naiveté they think it's possible to just leave the oil in the ground and cause oil prices to increase artificially. What this will actually cause is prolonged use of oil.

Pretend forces will not work in a free market. It has to be a matter of natural supply and demand, and as long as oil is the cheapest route it will be used. No one is going to agree to ignore the existence of a cheaper energy source because of some bed-wetters.
TkClick
3 / 5 (2) Jun 21, 2012
The Singularity
not rated yet Jun 21, 2012
& here was me thinking oil rich countries only exported crude.
NotParker
3 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2012
I guess this means that the U.S. will be able to export even more gasoline than it does now.


The US has been an importer for 62 years.

"For the first time since 1949, the United States exported more gasoline ... "

Why is the USA now importing? A weak economy. People drove less even while the refinery's were making gasoline.

" ... to offset weak U.S. demand, refiners exported 439,000 barrels a day more than were imported the year before. In 2010, daily imports averaged 269,000 barrels ... "
Daniel_Bennigan_s
not rated yet Jun 24, 2012
YAY money, lots and lots of dirty nearly worthless money ... definitely worth the trade for the soon lower quality gulf habitat we will all have. Absolutely ridiculous ... we need to take OUR government back. The babies (government) have been without supervision long enough.
rubberman
not rated yet Jun 25, 2012
Maybe they'll build solar powered drilling rigs.....
NotParker
1 / 5 (1) Jun 25, 2012
YAY money, lots and lots of dirty nearly worthless money ... definitely worth the trade for the soon lower quality gulf habitat we will all have. Absolutely ridiculous ... we need to take OUR government back. The babies (government) have been without supervision long enough.


If only enough environmentalists would give up using oil or buying products made with oil or the help of oil, this wouldn't be necessary.

And they should demolish their homes and let nature reclaim the space and move into the woods in a tent.

And give up their private jets too.