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SAFE Commends Movement Toward Lifting Ban on Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Production
SAFE Commends Movement Toward Lifting Ban on Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Production WASHINGTON, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two years after recommending an end to the federal moratorium on oil and natural gas production in the Outer Continental Shelf as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce oil dependence, Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) today praised President Bush's proposal to achieve that goal and noted widespread public support for increased domestic production of oil and natural gas. "Two years ago, we put forward a comprehensive plan to improve America's energy security," said Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President and CEO of FedEx Corporation and Co-Chairman of SAFE's Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC). "Last year, Republicans and Democrats joined together to enact a major part of that plan: the first improvements in fuel economy standards in three decades. Now, with Americans facing record high gas prices and with oil imports accounting for an astonishing 40 percent of our trade deficit, both Republicans and Democrats are facing a moment of opportunity. It is time to again come together to support another major piece of the energy security puzzle: increasing domestic production in an environmentally sound way." In its 2006 Recommendations to the Nation on Reducing U.S. Oil Dependence, the ESLC called on policymakers to "Increase access to U.S. oil and natural gas reserves in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) with sharply increased and expanded environmental protections." Today, the president echoed that recommendation by calling on Congress to lift the more than 25-year-old federal moratoria on areas of the OCS that are estimated to hold as much as 20 billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. Recent polls have showed strong majorities of Americans now support increased offshore production. "As we said long before the current skyrocketing oil prices, increasing our domestic supply of oil and natural gas in a safe, sound manner is crucial to our economic and national security," General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the Marine Corps and Co-Chairman of SAFE's ESLC said. "We cannot drill our way out of oil dependence, but we can alleviate some of the consequences while we move toward more permanent, longer-term solutions, and we can do it in a responsible manner. Three years ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita roared through the Gulf of Mexico, destroying 115 platforms and damaging countless others--yet not a single drop of oil was reported to be spilled. We have the ability, we have the technology, and most of all, we have the necessity. It is time for Republicans and Democrats to put aside partisanship and, as they did with last year's energy bill, act together to secure America's future energy." Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America's dependence on oil and improve U.S. energy security to bolster national security and strengthen the economy. OCS Production Fact Sheet -- In 2007 (before today's record prices), the United States imported 65 percent of the crude oil and refined product it consumed at a cost of nearly $300 billion. -- Net petroleum imports represented 41 percent of the total 2007 U.S. trade deficit. -- Producing an extra 1 million barrels per day of domestic crude oil would have reduced America's import costs by $26.4 billion in 2007. -- The U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates that the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) holds billions of barrels of oil and significant quantities of natural gas. -- For more than 25 years, 85 percent of OCS acreage--containing an estimated 20 billion barrels of oil and 83.5 trillion of cubic feet of natural gas--has been off limits to oil and gas exploration and production due to federal moratoria. -- Additional oil and gas resources are believed to exist due to favorable geological conditions in many areas of the OCS, but a precise inventory with modern equipment has not been conducted in over two decades due to the uncertainty created by federal moratoria. -- Overwhelming evidence indicates that offshore drilling in the U.S. can be carried out in an environmentally-sound manner. -- According to the U.S. Department of Interior, offshore operators produced 7 billion barrels of oil from 1985 to 2001 with a spill rate of only .001%. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 115 Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platforms and damaged 535 pipeline segments, but there were no major oil spills attributed to either storm. -- Any exploration of the OCS would be undertaken under the supervision and within the constraints of American environmental standards, which are far more stringent than those in many parts of the world. -- Benefits of increased U.S. energy production would be wide-ranging. -- In 2007, the Minerals Revenue Management Service reported $11.4 billion in total royalty revenue from domestic energy production on federal land and water. -- Of this total, $6.7 billion was disbursed to the general fund of the U.S. treasury; $2.0 billion went to producing states; $1.5 billion went to the Reclamation Fund; and $900 million to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. -- Opening the federal OCS to environmentally responsible development of oil and gas will increase revenues for many states as they confront looming budget deficits. -- Increasing domestic supply is only one part of the energy security equation but it is a significant one. -- Based on geological and historical precedent, opening the federal OCS to development could yield maximum crude oil production levels of between 1.0 and 2.0 million barrels per day in the coming years. -- By comparison, lawmakers' recent action to suspend filling the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve placed an estimated additional 60,000 - 80,000 barrels of crude oil on the market each day. 1. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/info_glance/petroleum.html; http://tse.export.gov/ 2. U.S. Minerals and Management Service, Assessment of Undiscovered Technically Recoverable Oil and Gas Resources of the Nation's Outer Continental Shelf. (2006) 3. Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), Untapped Potential: Offshore Oil and Gas Resources Unavailable to Leasing. (2006) 4. http://www.mrm.mms.gov/MRMWebStats/Home.aspx Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Robbie Diamond http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=75153 SOURCE Securing America's Future Energy Jonathan Grella of Securing America's Future Energy, +1-202-461-2369