July 30, 2015

Cassidy Offshore Energy Legislation Passes Energy Committee

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) applauded the passage of the broad, bipartisan energy bill, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, along with the passage of his legislation to expand offshore energy production. Dr. Cassidy’s Offshore Energy and Jobs Act of 2015 opens parts of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that are currently restricted from oil and gas exploration and development and brings greater equity in revenue sharing for the Gulf states by lifting the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) revenue sharing cap. 

The Offshore Production and Energizing National Security (OPENS) Act of 2015 combines Dr. Cassidy’sOffshore Energy and Jobs Act of 2015 to open the Gulf of Mexico with Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) legislation to expand Alaska’s OCS, and Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Scott’s (R-SC) legislation to open the Atlantic.  

Dr. Cassidy released the following statement:

“Opening the Gulf, Arctic and Atlantic to more oil and gas development means more workers can have good paying energy jobs. Opening the Eastern Gulf alone would add $18 billion per year to the U.S. economy and generate billions in revenue that could go to improving our roads and schools, among other things. America has the natural resources to be energy independent—it’s time to be independent.” 

This week, Dr. Cassidy also helped secure provisions in the bipartisan energy bill, which include streamlining the process to approve natural gas pipelines, expediting the approval of LNG export applications, creating fuels from post-use non recycled plastics, expanding access to low-interest financing to manufacture advanced technology maritime vessels, modernizing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and expanding methane hydrate research & development in the Gulf of Mexico.


Provides Access to New Offshore Energy Resources:

  • Provides access to frontier acreage in the Gulf of Mexico by redefining the Eastern Gulf of Mexico (EGOM) moratoria in 2017 (it is currently scheduled to expire in 2022) to open the largest undiscovered, technically recoverable, energy resources in areas beyond 50 miles of the Florida coastline.
  • Directs the Department of Interior to hold three lease sales in the EGOM in 2018, 2019, and 2020.  S.1276 would also allow for ongoing lease sales going forward beyond 2022.
  • According to a 2014 API/NOIA commissioned study, by 2035, Eastern Gulf offshore oil and natural gas development could produce nearly one million barrels of oil equivalent per day, generate nearly230,000 jobs, contribute over $18 billion per year to the U.S. economy, and generate $70 billion in cumulative government revenue.

Provides Greater Equity in Gulf State Revenue Sharing:

  • Coastal states provide the docks, roads, railways, refineries and other infrastructure that make energy production possible. In addition, the critical areas that support this energy supply for the country are experiencing unparalleled land-loss due to federal engineering decisions for nearly a century that have channelized the lower Mississippi River System for the benefit of the entire country. 
  • Louisiana’s 2,300 square miles of land loss is largely attributed to this channelization, along with the placement of federal levees along the river system, which has converted a once growing delta plain to the greatest source of wetlands loss in the history of the United States. Addressing the historic costs of hosting a capital intensive industry while ensuring resilient domestic energy supply can only be attained through equitable revenue sharing.
  • Provides greater equity in revenue sharing for states that host offshore energy production by lifting the GOMESA revenue sharing cap for Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama, from $500 million in 2017 to close to $700 million annually from 2018-2025, and $1 billion annually from 2026-2055. The cap is also lifted to allow for greater allocations to the Land and Water Conservation Fund state grant program, which shares 12.5% in offshore revenue.
  • Provides for revenue sharing for the State of Florida starting in fiscal year 2017. Florida will share in the revenue derived from leases in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico with 37.5% going to eligible Gulf states, 12.5% allocated to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and 50% allocated to the U.S. Treasury. It is estimated that Florida would receive $1.6 billion over a 10-year period in revenue sharing distribution from offshore energy production in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.  

Strengthens American Energy Independence:

  • According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2014, about 27% of petroleum consumed by the United States was imported from foreign countries. About 13% was imported from Saudi Arabia and 9% from Venezuela. This legislation provides greater access to fossil fuels to strengthen our energy independence.

Wide Support In Congress And From National Energy And Manufacturing Organizations: 

  • Co-sponsors include Senators David Vitter (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
  • Supported by American Exploration & Production Council (AXPC), American Petroleum Institute (API), Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), National Stripper Well Association (NWSA), Petroleum Equipment and Services Association (PESA), Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), Producers for American Crude Oil Exports (PACE), National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), U.S. Oil & Gas Association, among others.
  • The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, and the Florida Retail Federation have all called for the inclusion of the Gulf of Mexico’s Eastern Planning Area in the administration’s 2017-2022 draft proposed offshore leasing program.