U.S. to Hold 15 Auctions for Shelf Oil, Gas Fields till 2017

The United States will hold 15 auctions for its offshore oil and gas deposits in 2012-2017 under a leasing program to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, U.S. Department of the Interior said late on Thursday.

The United States is going to hold 12 auctions in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska as there areas are “the most likely recoverable oil and gas resources that the U.S. outer continental shelf is estimated to hold.”

“Put simply, this program opens the vast majority of known offshore oil and gas resources for development over the next five years and includes a cautious but forward-looking leasing strategy for the Alaska Arctic,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar was quoted in a statement as saying.

In February U.S. President Barack Obama said that the country would be able to replace up to 17 percent of imported oil volume by its own ‘black gold’ due to production increase at its internal shelf fields.

The U.S. government plans to cut oil imports from the Middle East, Africa and Europe to 2.5 million barrels per day by 2020 from the current volume of over four million barrels a day, and stop importing entirely by 2035. The country is unlocking new sources of oil in shale-rock formations, oil sands and deep beneath the ocean floor, strengthening its economy and energy security, The Wall Street Journal has said.

The new U.S. strategy, which will lead to international oil prices falling, will have major consequences for leading oil exporting states, including Russia, RBC daily business newspaper reported on Thursday.


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