President Joe Biden’s Department of the Interior (DOI) found that cutbacks on offshore drilling auctions would force the U.S. to import more crude oil to plug supply gaps as well as hike energy costs, according to a July analysis.
Halting offshore drilling leases would force over half (51%) of the country’s lost energy production to be replaced by foreign energy imports from abroad should Biden refuse to auction new offshore leases from 2023 to 2028, according to the department’s proposed offshore oil plan, produced by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Moreover, 10% of crude oil and natural gas supplied by offshore drilling would not be replaced by other sources and would vanish from the global market entirely. (RELATED: Federal Court Allows Biden To Once Again Pause Oil And Gas Drilling)
The report states that the 10% loss would be attributed to diminished global demand as reducing offshore drilling leases would lead to price hikes spurred on by reduced fuel supplies. Consumers would then curb consumption in reaction to higher prices, as only 29% of the missing supply would be addressed by increased onshore oil and gas drilling.
Other energy sources, which include renewable sources, would replace about 9% of offshore drilling’s energy production, according to BOEM figures. Additionally, less than 1% of the lost energy production would be addressed by existing offshore leasing.
The BOEM also found that there would be significant economic consequences if the administration limited offshore auctions, estimating that key drilling areas could lose billions of dollars in revenues. For example, the Mid-Atlantic Region could lose up to $2.2 billion and the North Atlantic Region could lose nearly $1.3 billion.
“Therefore, the net effect of these activities in the E&D scenario is an overall negative Net Economic Value (NEV), despite the presence of individual prospects with economically viable projects,” the report states. “BOEM does not assume any exploration or other activity would take place in the South Atlantic and Washington/Oregon under the low activity scenario.”
Biden pledged to halt offshore drilling on federal properties during his campaign. Throughout his time in office, the president has continuously canceled and delayed offshore leasing auctions as part of his aggressive climate agenda that seeks to phase out fossil fuels and promote green energy.
Fossil fuel industry groups and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly argued that more domestic energy production would allow the U.S. to become less reliant on imports from foreign powers like Russia. However, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry rejected this notion in June, arguing that the U.S. did not need to drill more to ramp up its energy security.
“We are working to have the Proposed Final Program for Secretarial approval in late 2023,” the BOEM told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “In the meantime, BOEM will comply with the provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act regarding offshore Lease Sales 257, 258, 259, and 261.”
The DOI did not immediately respond to the DOI’s request for comment.
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