Proposed 2012-2017 Five-Year Plan for Oil and Gas Leasing Program
Scoping for Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)
ANCHORAGE Offshore Oil and Gas 2012-2017 Scoping Hearing
Friday, February 25
7:00 PM (Arrive to sign up between 6-6:30 p.m.!)
3801 Centerpoint Dr. (36th Ave. & C St.)
Public Hearings in Alaska: Kotzebue, AK: Feb 14: 7 PM, Point Hope, AK: Feb 15: 7 PM, Point Lay, AK: Feb 16: 7 PM, Wainwright, AK: Feb 17: 7 PM, Barrow, AK: Feb 21: 7 PM, Nuiqsut, AK: Feb 22: 7 PM, Kaktovik, AK: Feb 23: 7 PM, Anchorage, AK: Feb 25: 7 PM
· According to conservative estimates by the federal government, the waters off Alaska’s coasts contain about 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Essentially, Alaska holds the eighth largest oil reserves in the world ahead of Nigeria, Libya, Russia and Norway.
· A 2008 assessment by the U.S. Geologic Survey concluded that about 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13% of its oil are located above the Arctic Circle, with Alaska holding enough oil & natural gas to maintain production for “many years to come.”
· The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) carries nearly 15 percent of U.S. crude production, but due to declining production onshore in the North Slope Region, average daily transport has been reduced to about 630,000 barrels per day – down from a high of over 2 million barrels a day in 1988. Offshore, ANWR, NPR-A or additional state land resources are needed to increase throughput or this 800-mile infrastructure will be forced to prematurely close. Recently, a brief shutdown of TAPS caused global oil prices to rise by nearly 5 percent.Economic Opportunity: Jobs & Revenue for Alaskans: · In Alaska, approximately 43,454 jobs are supported by the industry. These jobs add $6.1 billion to Alaska’s gross state product, or more than 16 percent of its wealth. The unemployment rate is already up to 8.1 percent in December 2010.
· A March 2009 study by the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research University and Northern Economics found that new offshore energy production in the State of Alaska could produce an annual average of 35,000 jobs over the next 50 years for the State of Alaska alone, with a total payroll of $72 billion (2007$) over the 50-year period.· In February 2008, lease sale 193 on tracts in the Chukchi netted taxpayers more than $2.6 billion in bonus bids. It was quite a take – especially since the federal government expected to only receive $67 million before the auction took place.
Environmentally Responsible Production in the Arctic:
· In the Arctic, industry has invested significant resources to develop comprehensive response plans in the event of an oil spill. In Alaska, Shell Oil currently maintains a fleet of 14 ships, tankers, barge, tow vessels, specialized ice and water containment equipment as well as a large workforce of highly trained people on location, ready to response in the event of a spill.· Nearly 100 wells have been drilled in the federal OCS off Alaska without a blowout.
Background to 2012-2017 Five-Year Plan:By law, the Secretary of the Interior must develop a program that outlines lease sales for oil and natural gas production on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for the next five years. Before the plan is finalized, several processes – including multiple opportunities for public input – must occur. Although it’s not 2012 yet, the Five-Year Program for 2012-2017 has already gone through significant revisions and public input. In fact, the 2012-2017 Five-Year Program was initially proposed by the George W. Bush Administration during its final days in office in early 2009. However, once in office, President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, extended the comment period until March 2009, allowing for additional public input on the five-year program. During this comment period, an astonishing 534,000 comments were received, two-thirds of which affirmed the public’s desire for increased domestic offshore production and access to new areas for offshore energy development. In March 2010, Secretary Salazar initiated the next step – public scoping before a programmatic environmental impact analysis commenced – but postponed the comment period and scoping meetings while the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was contained and investigated. Before Secretary Salazar re-opened the comment period, he removed the potential for lease sales in the Mid- and South-Atlantic as well as part of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico from the Five-Year Program, despite the potentially vast resources available in these areas. The plan now includes areas in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico as well the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and the Cook Inlet off Alaska. Currently, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Enforcement and Regulation (BOEMRE) is accepting public input on the scope of the programmatic environmental impact statement and will be holding public meetings in February that are scheduled at locations near the proposed areas for offshore leasing: Alaska, Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana, as well as a meeting in Washington, DC near the BOEMRE headquarters. Throughout this process, BOEMRE must come to understand and appreciate the enormous impact offshore oil and gas production has on our nation’s consumers, who depend on a vibrant economy and adequate energy security. Not only does offshore production create jobs and revenue throughout all 50 states, offshore energy resources will be needed to meet increasing consumer demands for oil and natural gas for decades to come. Development of Alaska’s resources under our Federal and State regulatory regimes is far better for the environment than causing the increased importation of energy from other countries, where environmental standards are different and long, tanker ocean voyages are required. * * *
Posted: February 21, 2011