In a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Delaware Governor John Carney has declared that he is opposed to drilling for oil and gas in federal waters off the coast of Delaware, or elsewhere in the Atlantic.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order to review restrictions on offshore drilling imposed by the Obama Administration in April, and earlier this month Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia, also wrote a letter reverting from his previous support for offshore oil drilling.
Carney’s says: “Delawareans rely upon and enjoy our abundant coastal resources. Over 60,000 jobs directly or indirectly support the fishing, tourism and recreation sectors. Coast-related activities contribute almost $7 billion in economic production to the state.
“Preserving the coastal environment is essential to Delaware’s economic well-being, as well as vital to maintaining a high quality of life for its residents. The majority of coastal residents perceive offshore oil and gas exploration as a threat to their communities and livelihoods,” Says Carney.
“We as a nation share the responsibility to ensure that energy decisions do not exacerbate the problems associated with climate change that are already being witnessed. The State of Delaware stands firm in its commitment to alternative energy development, and has prioritized working with neighboring states to develop a comprehensive strategy that will maximize the environmental and economic development benefits of adopting renewable energy.
Last week, McAuliffe wrote to Kelly Hammerle, national program manager of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) citing both economic and environmental concerns. He says, Trump’s proposal to end the revenue sharing agreement with the Gulf States is a clear indication that they cannot trust the President to give Virginia its fair share of the revenues.
“Additionally, the President’s administration is actively working to cut funding from the very agencies that would be charged with protecting Virginia’s coastal environment in the event that exploration went forward.”
BOEM Looks to Gulf’s Deepwater
On Tuesday, BOEM Director Scott Angelle urged some 200 oil and gas industry representatives to embrace the energy development opportunities that exist in deepwater Gulf of Mexico during plenary remarks at the Deepwater Technical Symposium in New Orleans.
“Strengthening energy production in the Gulf of Mexico is critical for economic, energy and national security,” Angelle said. “With billions of barrels still untapped in the Gulf of Mexico, the opportunities for discovery abound.”
Currently, 82 percent of oil production from the Outer Continental Shelf comes from deepwater, water depths greater than 1,000 feet. 10 years ago, deepwater production accounted for 70 percent of Outer Continental Shelf oil production. 20 years ago, deepwater production accounted for 26 percent of Outer Continental Shelf oil production.
“BSEE is working with all stakeholders to overcome technology and regulatory challenges and to ensure that offshore operations are safe and environmentally-sustainable.” Angelle said.
Currently, there are approximately 36 deepwater projects and prospects operated by 13 companies in the Gulf of Mexico, including drilling and workover activities.
Carney's letter is available here.