This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 02, 2007

Leasing Plan Looks to Gulf and Alaska for Oil and Natural Gas

The U.S. Department of the Interior released a plan on April 30th for developing U.S. offshore oil and gas resources over the next five years. The plan for oil and gas leasing on the outer continental shelf, prepared by the Minerals Management Service (MMS), includes 12 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, 8 lease sales off the coast of Alaska, and, at the request of the Commonwealth of Virginia, one lease sale off the coast of southern Virginia. According to the Interior Department, the lease sales could yield 40 billion barrels of oil and 45 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over the next 40 years. The leases could also generate nearly $170 billion in net benefits for the nation. See the Interior Department press release.

The new lease areas will include more than 8 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, including deepwater resources located in a band running east from the southern tip of Texas and continuing to a point due south of the eastern tip of Louisiana. This area, called the Lower Tertiary Trend, is thought to contain significant oil resources. See the MMS summary of the Lower Tertiary Trend (PDF 292 KB). Download Adobe Reader.