The U.S. is falling behind in seismic information gathering, exploration activity and energy development due to the bureaucratic delays caused by the vague language and broken regulatory processes in the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was created to protect marine mammals, not to be used as a tool by anti-energy groups to prevent exploration activities. This regulatory inefficiency means investment that was once allocated in the United States is going elsewhere.
The Mexican government has generated almost $1.3 billion USD from offshore energy development since 2014. Meanwhile, the United States has lost potential jobs and revenue.
In the last three years:
The last surveys for energy exploration of the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) were conducted in the 1980s, more than 30 years ago. Due to technological advances, existing estimates of the available energy are out-of-date.
BOEM currently estimates that the mid and south Atlantic OCS holds at least 4.59 billion barrels (BBLS) of oil and 38.17 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas. BOEM’s estimates are based on 30-year-old seismic data.
Modern survey technology will enable the old estimates to be updated and allow our government to make informed policy decisions about the next steps. However, the U.S. is the only nation not exploring its Atlantic OCS. There is exploration and production in all the other Atlantic areas such as offshore Canada, Trinidad &Tobago, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina as well as offshore west Africa.