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Record-breaking year of US oil and natural gas lease sales

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World Pipelines,

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced this week that 2018 was a record year for oil and natural gas lease sales – generating more than US$1 billion – an amount that was nearly equal to the BLM’s budget for fiscal year 2018.

“Expanded access for oil and natural gas production through increased lease sales brings tangible benefits – like newly paved roads, upgraded school buildings, and better funded land and water conservation projects – to communities across the nation,” said API’s Vice President of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “The shale revolution continues to support the shared goals of leading the world not just in energy production but also in driving economic growth, increasing US energy security and helping to advance climate goals through responsible, innovative production and practices.

“Additionally, the administration’s five year programme for offshore access will hopefully open up new areas in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf Outer Continental Shelf that will bring similar benefits to coastal communities.”

In December of 2018, USGS released new estimates for technically recoverable resources in the Permian Basin, announcing that the findings are the “largest continuous oil and gas assessments ever released.” In fact, the benefits of this combination of access and technological ability was demonstrated earlier in the year when New Mexico received more than US$970 million during a lease sale – bringing in more revenue than any previous sale. As noted in the BLM announcement, the agency offers lease sales for areas that have completed environmental review and public comment and are made available for the exploration and development of oil and natural gas. States earn 48% of lease sale revenues while 52% is added to the US Treasury. States also receive half of all revenues gained from royalties in areas where oil and natural gas is produced.

“This is what energy and economic leadership looks like,” said Milito. “The development of oil and natural gas, both onshore and offshore, allows the US to lead the way – investing resources back in our communities as well as in our environment through industry’s advancement of low-carbon technologies that have helped the US lead the world in the reduction of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions since 2000. CO2 emissions have reached their lowest level in a generation, and methane emissions from natural gas systems fell 16% since 1990 as production rose more than 50%.”

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