(October 26, 2020)
The Consumer Energy Alliance, an advocacy organization for affordable energy, believes the Gulf of Mexico’s oil and gas reserves will be critical to securing a rapid economic recovery following the pandemic. Vast untapped reserves of oil and natural gas could support thousands of jobs and guarantee affordable energy for businesses and families alike, the group argues.
The Gulf accounts for approximately 20 percent of U.S. energy production. In areas that are already open for production, estimates suggest there are around 45 billion barrels of oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This amount of oil would be enough to power all of America’s 128.5 million households for two years, according to David Holt, president of the CEA.
Holt warned that some politicians plan to introduce a ban on new leases for the Gulf. If these plans are implemented, Texas and other Gulf Coast states could lose 203,000 jobs and $220 million of revenue, said Holt.
The alternative, he maintained, is to approve new leases, because energy produced from the Gulf is more environmentally friendly than imports from other countries. “Robust energy and environmental leadership go together,” wrote Holt. “We should embrace this with annual lease sales that can provide another benefit: ready economic activity to spur COVID recovery.”
The CEA’s proposal isn’t the first since the outbreak of the pandemic to appeal for more support to the offshore energy sector. In March, when the economic impact of the virus began to hit, Texas congressmen issued a call to the federal Department of the Interior to suspend the collection of royalties on Gulf energy production. The move, they argued, would help save jobs and keep companies afloat.
“As a part of a strong and diverse offshore energy system, thousands upon thousands of U.S. companies write paychecks to hundreds of thousands U.S. workers, supporting communities throughout the Gulf Coast and in many other areas of the country,” commented Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw.