API opposes House proposal to ban some offshore geophysical testing for oil and gas

“Forward-looking energy policy recognizes the need to understand the potential resources in the Atlantic”

explorationWASHINGTON – The American oil and gas industry’s biggest lobby group is criticizing a House of Representatives proposal that would ban or restrict “geophysical activities” used in offshore oil and natural gas exploration.

New anti-consumer proposals from some members of the House of Representatives to ban geological or geophysical activities that aid in several forms of energy exploration could cripple offshore oil and natural gas exploration, according to API Upstream Group Director Erik Milito.

“These short-sighted amendments are ultimately anti-consumer, anti-jobs and would harm future U.S. energy security,” said API Upstream Group Director Erik Milito in a press release.

“Offshore seismic surveys have been conducted safely in the U.S. and around the world for decades. They provide critical knowledge to find the energy that Americans depend on and, in the process, generate job creation and economic growth while increasing our nation’s energy security.”

The last surveys of the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf took place over 30 years ago and given the technological advances since that time, today’s technology can provide a better understanding of the oil and natural gas resource potential in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, according to API.

Safe seismic surveying is an important step in vital outer continental shelf energy development – there are at least 4.7 billion barrels of oil and 37.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are estimated to be undiscovered in the Atlantic alone, according to government assessments.

The Department of Interior has supported exploration and mapping activities and oversees a permitting process that requires site-specific environmental reviews for any permit applications that include coordination and consultation with federal, state and tribal authorities under a variety of additional statutory requirements.

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In the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s August 2014 Science Note, the agency’s chief environmental officer stated: “To date, there has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in seismic surveying activities adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities.”

“Rising U.S. production has dramatically increased our ability to protect consumers and the US economy from energy shocks even within a low price environment,” said Milito.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Atlantic seismic permitting also made the conclusion that seismic surveys are safely regulated.

“Thanks to industry efforts and investment, the United States is leading the world in oil and natural gas production as well as in reduced emissions, which are near 20-year lows,” said Milito.

“Forward-looking energy policy recognizes the need to understand the potential resources in the Atlantic. The nation’s long-term energy security can only be ensured with a lasting commitment to expanding offshore oil and natural gas development to new areas.”