Sea Technology

JAN 2018

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www.sea-technology.com January 2018 | ST 39 cooperation and partnerships with industry are integral to achieving its goal of American energy domi- nance. That's good news for our in- dustry. So far, President Donald Trump has made good on his election promises to reduce the regulatory fiat in Washington. In its first year, the Trump Administration began implementing its America First Offshore Energy Strategy, which includes unraveling harmful reg- ulations that placed onerous and ineffective restrictions on industry. Industry estimated the combined costs of just three Obama-era rules—well control, Arctic drilling and air quality regulations—at more than $55 billion over a 10-year pe- riod. The analysis of these rules also found they do not improve safety or provide increased environmental protections. In fact, the well control rule's provisions on drilling margins may actually increase risk, and the Arctic drilling rule does not accu- rately reflect current industry capa- bilities. The Trump Administration is also working to increase offshore access, which was dramatically reduced by the Obama Adminis- tration. In Obama's final months in office, Arctic and Atlantic lease sales were removed from the 2017 to 2022 Five-Year Outer Continen- tal Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program, six long-awaited Atlantic OCS seismic survey permit applica- tions were simultaneously denied, and an executive order was issued that "permanently" withdrew Atlan- tic and Arctic Ocean areas from fu- ture oil and gas leasing. As a result, 94 percent of the OCS is effectively closed to federal oil and gas leasing, including waters off the entire Pacif- ic and Atlantic Coasts. Last April, President Trump is- sued an executive order rescinding President Obama's offshore leasing withdrawals, and in May, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed pre- mature blanket denial of Atlantic seismic survey permit applications through a secretarial order. These surveys are needed because exist- ing resource estimates for the Atlan- tic OCS are based on data collected from seismic surveys conducted more than 30 years ago. New sur- veys using modern technology are vital to providing an up-to-date and scientifically accurate picture of the offshore oil and gas resources off our Atlantic seaboard. Despite the claims of anti-energy environmen- tal groups, these surveys have been safely conducted around the world for decades. In fact, the top scien- tist at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) during the Obama Administration said there has been zero evidence of seismic surveys harming marine life. New surveys of the Atlantic OCS will also help inform the de- velopment of the next offshore leasing program, which the Trump Administration began work on last June by issuing a request for infor- mation (RFI). In November, based on response to the RFI, the Trump Administration unveiled the 2019 to 2024 National Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Pro- gram (DPP), which includes the most offshore acreage in history. This "All of America" plan sets the table for American energy leader- ship for the next generation. While the DPP guarantees nothing beyond a public conversation on our OCS energy resources, the White House, through the unprecedented amount of OCS area it included in the plan, is showing energy leadership that our nation desperately needs. Congress has also been busy in strengthening America's energy fu- ture. Showing bipartisan leadership, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louis.), House Natural Resourc- es Committee Chairman Rob Bish- op (R-Utah) and Reps. Henry Cuel- lar (D-Texas) and Vincent González (D-Texas) introduced the SECURE American Energy Act. This for- ward-thinking bill has the potential to unlock American energy dom- inance for the next generation by cutting red tape and providing a sta- ble regulatory environment. Amer- ica has long needed more policy, instead of more partisanship, and it turns out energy can be the perfect start of bipartisan growth. Congress, like President Trump, realizes that Americans, regardless of party af- filiation, want the jobs, economic growth and energy security a robust domestic energy program provides. Opening and exploring new offshore areas signals a victory for American energy security, jobs and our economy. Energy, partic- ularly fossil fuel-based energy, is the cornerstone of our economy. Nothing moves and nothing gets made without energy. Having an administration that understands this and engages with the energy industry, instead of issuing arbitrary and harmful, politically expedient rules and regulations, is more than a comfort, it is a necessity. The oil and gas market is cyclical, and for decades, our industry has shown it can bounce back from commodity price downturns. We will do so this time as well, hopefully beginning in 2018. As the president of NOIA, I am excited for the possibilities of 2018, including new opportunities for the offshore oil and gas industry, a crit- ical contributor to America's eco- nomic and energy security. ST

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