Op/Ed: Trump Signals New Day for Offshore Energy
National Ocean Industries Association president Randall Luthi weighs in on President Trump’s Executive Order on offshore energy.
It’s a new day and a new attitude for American energy. The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) applauds President Donald Trump’s Executive Order recognizing the vital role of offshore energy in an overall national energy policy. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that in the year 2040, traditional forms of energy, particularly fossil fuels, will provide almost 80 percent of our energy needs. With the expected economic growth worldwide, we will need more energy than is currently being produced, and all forms of energy will be needed to meet the growing demand. Offshore oil and natural gas have proven to be reliable and cost efficient sources of energy.
For years, we have sought a comprehensive U.S. energy policy. However, in reality, our nation’s energy policy has been a cobbled-together raft, drifting with the prevailing political winds and currents of the ‘favored’ energy source of the day. This Executive Order can be used to craft a long-term, consistent energy blueprint to provide jobs, state and federal revenue, and economic and energy security for America. The rescission of the previous Administration’s withdrawal of vast offshore areas favors continued public discussion over unilateral decree. With a whopping 94 percent of our outer continental shelf currently locked away from oil and gas development, a thorough review of the regulatory framework governing our offshore energy resources is warranted and logical. NOIA hopes the review will prompt the Trump Administration to begin work on an expedited leasing program that actually increases offshore access and revives efforts to safely conduct modern seismic surveys in the Atlantic.
The time is right for such a review. Commodity prices are expected to continue to rise, providing badly needed capital for long-term offshore projects. The 6 percent of the offshore that is open for exploration will provide about 20 percent of our Nation’s oil next year and about 5 percent of our natural gas, and the more we produce at home, the less we need to import. This home-grown production provides thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue. In addition, the structures used in energy development provide critical habitat for coral, fish and marine mammals. Offshore energy, including oil, natural gas and wind, can be a sustainable, reliable piece of a comprehensive U.S. energy policy; a policy that is badly needed at this time.