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API Lambasts Obama Administration Artic Oil Lease Decision

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An oil and gas lobbying group is denouncing the Obama administration’s decision to deny Arctic offshore development extension requests and scheduled 2016 and 2017 arctic lease sales. American Petroleum Institute (API) director of upstream Erik Milito blamed “regulatory uncertainty” for the situation.

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“Our industry’s strong interest in developing our country’s vast offshore oil and natural gas resources in Alaska was undermined years ago when the administration began implementing a system of regulatory and permitting unpredictability and uncertainty,” Milito said. “Investment decisions have been directly thwarted by the policy decisions of the administration related to Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf development, and lease extensions are clearly justified under the circumstances. And while it is not surprising that Interior canceled the remaining lease sales because there was an absence of nominations, it is the significant regulatory uncertainty that has created the reluctance on the part of our industry. Still, America’s oil and natural gas industry remains firmly committed to the long-term development of offshore Alaska resources.”

Citing market conditions and low industry interest, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the decision on Oct. 19 to cancel two potential Arctic offshore lease sales, with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell saying, “It does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half.”

Milito said that Arctic oil and natural gas represent “incredible potential” for U.S. energy security, jobs and revenue for the government.

“Access to the region’s oil and natural gas resources will remain necessary to provide energy supplies to meet the world’s growing demand and vital to keeping America’s status as a world leader in energy,” he said.

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.

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