US to launch largest offshore drilling expansion in decades

US to launch largest offshore drilling expansion in decades

A new 5-year drilling plan could open areas off the coast of the US for oil and gas exploration, where drilling has been blocked for decades.

Domestic production of oil and gas will be increased as waters in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans will be opened for drilling.

The plan was announced on Thursday afternoon by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke who stated that developing offshore energy sources would boost employment and job security, while inject billions of dollars into the conservation funds along the coastlines of the US.

The move will open 90% of the country’s offshore reserves for development by private companies who will bid for some of the 47 leases proposed between 2019 and 2014.

Groups within the industry have welcomed the proposals which will be the biggest expansion of offshore drilling in decades.

19 of the sales would be off the coast of Alaska, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico with a further 9 in the Atlantic and 7 in the Pacific – 6 of which would be off the coast of California.

The announcement of the plans can less than a week after the Trump administration proposed the rewriting or killing of restrictions on offshore drilling that were implemented in 2010.

The rules were described by the Trump administration as an unnecessary burden on the industry and that by reducing them further production would be encouraged.

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