(Reuters) – The Biden administration on Thursday said it would hold a bid for drilling for the Gulf of Mexico next March in response to demands in the government’s new climate change law.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer all available space on the continental shelf off the Gulf on March 29, the statement said in a sale announcement posted online.
Closed auctions are due one day before the auction.
The sale will be the first Gulf of Mexico oil and gas auction mandated under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which President Joe Biden signed into law in August. The legislation includes billions of dollars in climate change and clean energy initiatives. But there is also protection for the efficient oil and gas sector.
Biden halted auctions for drilling on federal land and waters shortly after taking office as part of the climate change agenda. But he also faces pressure to boost oil and gas production amid rising pump prices.
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat who represents the coal-producing state of West Virginia, called for federal lease protection in exchange for IRA support.
The IRA requires BOEM to hold offshore auctions in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, which the administration canceled earlier this year.
The agency announced last month it would auction up to 1 million acres of land in Cook Inlet, off the coast of Alaska, on Dec. 30. It is also finalizing a five-year proposal for oil and gas development. offshore gas
In a statement, environmental group Oceana urged the administration to stop offshore drilling in the plan. It said it was detrimental to the country’s climate targets. and increasing the risk of oil spills that threaten fisheries. tourism and recreation
Oil and gas industry groups appreciated the announcement:
Erik Milito, president of the National Oceanic Industry Association, said: “We shouldn’t have to rely on foreign energy when we have a premier low-carbon energy region, the Gulf of Mexico.”
(Reporting by Nichola Groom, Editing by Josie Kao)