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API Statement on Lease Sale 261

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WASHINGTON, December 20, 2023 – The American Petroleum Institute issued the following statement from Vice President of Upstream Policy Holly Hopkins regarding today’s offshore lease sale mandated by the Inflation Reduction Act:

“Despite policy headwinds, today’s sale generated the highest bid amount in nearly a decade, demonstrating that our industry is working to meet growing demand and investing in the nation’s long-term energy security. Just as today’s record U.S. production was supported by investment and policy decisions made years ago, new leasing opportunities are critical for maintaining American energy leadership for decades to come. Although today’s congressionally mandated lease sale is a positive step after multiple delays, the lack of any offshore sales in the year ahead is a prime example of the administration’s failure to implement a long-term energy strategy. We urge the administration to reconsider its shortsighted approach and plan today for tomorrow’s energy demand.”   

Lease Sale 261 was originally scheduled under the previous five-year offshore leasing program and cancelled by the Department of the Interior in May 2022, but the sale was reinstated by the Inflation Reduction Act. Last week, the Biden administration issued its final five-year offshore leasing program nearly 500 days late. However, 2024 is expected to be the first year since 1966 without an offshore lease sale.

According to the U.S. EIA, Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production accounts for 15% of total crude oil production and federal offshore natural gas production accounts for 5% of total U.S. dry production. In addition, a recent report from NOIA conducted by ICF found that the U.S. Gulf of Mexico produces some of the lowest carbon intensity barrels in the world. Constrained production in this basin could be replaced by higher carbon intensity barrels from elsewhere in the world. 

API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. Our approximately 600 members produce, process and distribute the majority of the nation’s energy, and participate in API Energy Excellence®, which is accelerating environmental and safety progress by fostering new technologies and transparent reporting. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization and has developed more than 800 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.


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