FocusUS oil, chem groups support offshore drilling

18 June 2008 18:52  [Source: ICIS news]

By Al Greenwood

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Prominent US trade groups issued on Wednesday statements supporting calls to end the moratorium on offshore drilling, joining others that want the nation to end the bans.

The comments follow an address by President George Bush, who asked Congress to lift the 27-year ban on offshore drilling in the so-called outer continental shelf (OCS).

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has made similar calls.

“Today, President Bush outlined clear and crucial steps forward in strengthening our nation’s energy security," according to a statement by Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA).

The NPRA has previously supported energy policy to allow offshore drilling.

“Allowing safe, environmentally responsible development of our domestic energy resources will help ease volatile global supply conditions, lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy and increase supply and stability for American consumers," Drevna said. 

He added: "Additionally, further expansion of domestic refining capacity will help ensure stable supplies of transportation fuels and other refined products critical to our economy as demand for those products continues to grow."

Separately, a letter urging more oil production was signed by 77 US trade groups, including the National Associaton of Chemical Distributors (NACD). The groups included professional associations as diverse as funeral directors, beauticians, hauliers and grocers.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) also released its own statement in regards to a pending House committee vote to amend the moratorium. That vote, of the House Appropriations Committee, had been scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed, sources on Capitol Hill said.

“Along with energy efficiency and diversity, expanded access to domestic energy is a vital part of a comprehensive energy policy that Congress must not neglect," according to a statement by Jack Gerard, ACC president.

As reported exclusively by ICIS news, Gerard has been named the new president of the American Petroleum Institute (API), where he is expected to lead an agenda of active engagement by the petroleum industry which Gerard himself has described as "shellshocked" by a barrage of negative public sentiment.

Opponents to offshore drilling, such as the environmental activist group Sierra Club, claim lifting the moratorium on drilling would wreak havoc with sensitive environmental areas.

“The proposals from both President Bush and Senator McCain to open America’s pristine beaches and last remaining wild places to oil drilling would do nothing to solve our energy problems," said Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope. 

Pope added: “Drilling our last undeveloped coastlines will do nothing to ease pain at the pump for the average American family. It will only add to the oil industry’s tens of billions of dollars in record profits."

Gerard of the ACC said the US is the only country in the industrialised world that bans offshore energy development.

"It’s well past time for Congress to put politics aside, work together and enact the package of policies that can put America on a path to a more affordable, secure, diverse and efficient energy future," Gerard said.

While the American Petroleum Institute (API) has not issued a formal statement in response to Bush and McCain, it has long supported increased production and exploration.

The petroleum institute and other trade associations submitted testimony to the President's Commission on Ocean Policy, which supported offshore drilling and exploration.

"The energy resources of the oceans surrounding the US offer the potential to seriously address the vital energy needs of the US in the future," the testimony said.

The institute also supports oil developing land owned by the federal government. Such land - which covers more than 657m acres - makes up 67% of the nation's conventional undiscovered oil reserves, the API said, quoting government sources.

The institute has also voiced support for increased development on the northern slope of Alaska - something which McCain has ruled out.

(Additional reporting by John Waggoner)

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.

Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.

Printer Friendly

Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.
ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)
ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index

Related Articles