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IAGC: Biden Administration’s Oil and Gas Leasing “Moratorium” Counterintuitive to U.S. Energy Security and Made in America Agenda

International Association of Geophysical Contractors
·4 min read

So-called temporary moratorium essentially ends U.S energy security and safely-produced affordable energy for citizens as the U.S. undertakes energy transition.

Houston, TX, U.S., Jan. 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The IAGC issued the following statement from IAGC’s Dustin Van Liew, IAGC Vice President of Regulatory & Governmental Affairs regarding the Biden Administration’s announcement to halt new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and waters.

“Today’s announcement by the Administration to implement a ‘moratorium’ on new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters is disappointing. The decision demonstrates a lack of consideration for the nation’s future energy security; access to safe, affordable oil and gas energy which ensures citizens’ well‐being as the country makes the energy transition; stable employment for industry workers and those that support and rely on the industry; and the industry’s long history of safely and successfully coexisting with other commercial, environmental, and recreational interests. We are unaware of any government plan to immediately replace this affordable and reliable energy source, which should be a serious concern for U.S. households and businesses.”

“Also of great concern is the abrupt manner in which this announcement was made, without advance notice or consultation with industry. Diligence by the government prior to this decision could have allowed for a more informed conclusion without the negative impacts to the economy, U.S. citizens, and the industry at a time when the nation can least afford these unnecessary, self-inflicted additional challenges. Furthermore, the decision is clearly at odds with the Administration’s own “Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers” agenda. Unfortunately, this decision appears to have been made in a vacuum and without prior consultation with, or notification to, the hydrocarbon industry.

“The U.S. has become the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. This energy renaissance has put millions of Americans to work, generated billions of dollars in revenue for federal and state governments, and put downward pressure on prices for consumers – notably, allowing citizens with the least means to access the benefits of low energy costs. Growing U.S. production has also dramatically increased our resistance to energy market shocks, but the nation’s long-term energy security can only be strengthened with a lasting commitment to continuing onshore and offshore oil and natural gas leasing and development.

“The geophysical and exploration industry (and other businesses) rely on consistent and transparent policy decisions by governments. An arbitrary suspension to leasing disrupts business certainty: major investments in the U.S. have already been made by companies with a reasonable expectation of future activities and returns. Today’s action within the first week of the new administration indicates the new administration is not interested in affordable and reliable energy for U.S. citizens, and will lead to dramatically fewer opportunities for exploration going forward.

“Finally, while we strongly oppose the shortsighted decision to halt leasing, we support President Biden’s acknowledgement that agencies must make evidence-based decisions based on the best available science through the ‘Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum’. Specifically, the IAGC has been calling on the Federal Government (National Marine Fisheries Service) for more than five years, to revise the ‘Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing’ to accurately reflect the best available science, as it currently does not meet the standards set out in the memorandum.

“The IAGC calls upon the Administration to reconsider this short-sighted decision and to engage with industry and the wider public to fully assess the potential adverse effects of it on the country’s economy and on its people.”

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About the IAGC

Founded in 1971, the IAGC is the global trade association for the geophysical and exploration industry, the cornerstone of the energy industry. With member companies in 50 countries, our membership includes onshore and offshore survey operators and acquisition companies, data and processing providers, exploration and production companies, equipment and software manufacturers, industry suppliers, service providers, and consultancies.

The IAGC supports and fosters science- and risk-based regulations consistent with existing practices that are proven to be environmentally responsible, effective and operationally feasible. ​

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CONTACT: Gail Adams-Jackson IAGC +1 713-957-8080 gail.adams@iagc.org