BSEE Director Sees Change and Optimism for U.S. Offshore Energy
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Scott Angelle told attendees of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry Conference, held at the Port of New Orleans Tuesday, that offshore energy is vital to the Trump Administration goal of energy dominance. Angelle emphasized that production must be safe and environmentally sustainable to meet America’s oil and gas demands now and in the future.
"Let us be the generation that inherited energy dependence and transformed it into energy dominance," Angelle said. "When President Trump issued his executive order, titled, 'Implementing an America First Offshore Energy Strategy,' he changed America’s direction offshore."
Angelle pointed out that about one in every five barrels of oil produced in the U.S. comes from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. In 2107, offshore production reached a record high of 621 million barrels of oil produced.
Angelle told the LABI attendees that 50 percent of the total oil and natural gas production in 2017 came from just 11 facilities, all in deepwater, defined as 1,000 feet or greater water depth. Angelle said it took three times as many platforms ten years ago to reach the 50 percent production total. "The fact that the top 11 facilities produce what took 37 facilities a decade ago can be explained by the trend toward fewer, larger platforms in deeper water."
Angelle noted that there has been an uptick in the numbers of deepwater drilling permits BSEE approved during 2018, which makes him optimistic for 2019 and beyond.
Describing two Gulf of Mexico provinces, from an energy perspective, Angelle identified the shallow water Gulf as rich with natural gas and the deepwater Gulf as predominantly a producer of oil. He stressed the need for further investments in both provinces, and stated that recent growth of U.S. liquefied natural gas exports presents an opportunity for shallow water producers.
"I am convinced that more is achieved when all offshore stakeholders − including taxpayers, regulators, industry, safety advocates and environmental organizations − put our heads together and strive for safe and secure energy dominance," Angelle said. "And, as we all know, we can only achieve these goals through safe operations that prioritize environmental sustainability."