US Offers Up 37 Million Acres for Offshore Drilling in Gulf of Mexico


Photo via US News

Drill, baby, sigh. Well, Obama evidently wasn't kidding about making bipartisan compromises in his energy policy. According to a breaking report from Reuters, the US Interior Department has just "issued the final leasing terms" for almost 37 million offshore acres in the Gulf of Mexico. Which means over a billion barrels of crude oil and trillions of cubic sq feet of gas will be extracted from new drilling operations. Reuters reports that

the area to be leased may hold up to 1.3 billion barrels of crude oil and 5.4 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to the department ... Lease Sale 213 involves about 6,958 tracts spread over 36.9 million acres located 3 to 230 miles off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The blocks are in water depths from 10 feet to more than 11,200 feet.
This announcement may be timed to surface at a moment when the Obama administration is trying its damnedest to be seen making bipartisan inroads--the town hall debate with Republicans, the new bipartisan jobs bill, and major gestures of concessions to liberal ideals on energy policy in his State of the Union address.

Remember, in the SOTU, he promised to expand funding for nuclear power--a promise he lived up to by adding billions in loans guarantees in his budget--as well as putting offshore drilling back on the table. And now here's the offshore drilling. I hope Obama can publicize this in such a way that it gains him political capital towards the passage of more comprehensive energy reform.

Because, as everyone knows, domestic drilling could at best only supply a truly meager percentage of US energy demands. Let's some good can somehow come of this million-acre drilling expansion.

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