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Alaska

Percent

Year

MMCF

State

ចិន

8888888888888

73, 295
75, 581
72, 164
611, 438

Through 1976,

10 37,240,601

Source: Bureau of Mines, Alaska Scouting Service, Conservation Committee of California, Louisiana State Mineral Board, Louisiana Dept. of Conservation, Texas Railroad Commission. Louisiana and Texas are estimated in part. Printed in U.S. Geological Survey, op. cit.

Of all domestic oil and gas produced, some 17 percent now comes from the Continental Shelf-about 18 percent of our oil and 15 percent of our natural gas. However, the prospects are that the U.S. Continental Shelf can be the largest domestic source of oil and gas

between now and the 1990's. 27

Onshore reserves, although perhaps larger in total than our OCS resources, are now being discovered in increasingly smaller structures-structures which are more expensive and slower to produce than the larger ones discovered in the early 20th Century. For example, from 1971 to 1976, of the 38,000 onshore wells which have been drilled in the continental United States, only five fields of over 100 million barrels of oil have been discovered.

In contrast, USGS data indicate the possibility that OCS oil and gas reserves may be found in large structures which can be translated into expeditious production sooner than in fields onshore. Some studies estimate that offshore oil and gas may comprise as much as one-fourth to one-third of the total U.S. oil production by 1985. Emerging Issues in U.S. Offshore Oil and Gas Development OCS

Activity; After Santa Barbara Offshore drilling for oil and gas has been occurring since the beginning of this century. But for decades, it was carried on in relatively shallow state waters. As technology advanced, deeper depths could be penetrated and the search for petroleum hydrocarbons in the oceans moved farther out from shore.

This new technology, then, was a major ingredient in the congressional action of 1953. Between the passage of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and 1968, the Interior Department conducted 23 OCS oil and gas lease sales. A total of 1,417 tracts covering 6,411,626 acres were sold for purposes of exploration and development.

Essentially, the OCS process was subject to little national scrutiny, although localized impact, particularly in the coastal States bordering the Gulf of Mexico, was the subject of some concern.

A major change occurred when an OCS drilling project in the Santa Barbara Channel was the scene of a major blowout in January 1969. The resulting oil spill damage to the ecology of the Channel raised the OCS issue to national attention.

The following chronology covers the period from the Santa Barbara incident to the present. It highlights only selected OCS events.

CHRONOLOGY OF SELECTED RECENT OCS EVENTS, 1969–77 January 28, 1969.—A blowout from offshore oil drilling in Santa Barbara Channel resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

February 5, 1969.-- The Coast Guard announced that the Federal Government had taken control of the oil containment and cleanup operations in the Santa Barbara Channel.

February 18, 1969.-Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickel held the oil companies responsible for cleaning up any pollution resulting from offshore drilling operations, even if there was no proof that the companies were at fault.

27 For a detailed discussion of the studies which have led to this conclusion, see "Effects of Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Development on the Coastal Zone," op. cit., particularly chapter 1.

February 19, 1969.-The State of California announced that it would sue the Federal Government, Union Oil Co., and three other companies for $1.06 billion for damage caused by oil leaks from offshore wells.

September 1969.--A barge accident off Falmouth, Mass., spilled 100,000 gallons of No. 2 light home heating oil in a relatively confined area, poisoning marine life.

September 17, 1969.—The Department of the Interior issued new regulations pertaining to mineral leasing on the OCS (Circular 2264).

June 1971.-—The Secretary of the Interior first promulgated a tentative 5-year OCS leasing schedule.

November 8, 1971.-A group of 60 Congressmen representing Eastern States sent a letter to the Secretary of the Interior demanding a halt to the Department's plans to lease offshore drilling sites along the Atlantic coast.

January 1972.-An injunction against a lease sale offshore Louisiana was upheld by the U.S. District Court of Appeals on the grounds that the Department of the Interior failed to consider adequately the alternative sources of fuel in preparing its environmental impact statement (EIS) required under the National Environmental Policy. Act.

January 11, 1972. Secretary of the Interior Rogers C. B. Morton assured representatives of 14 east coast States that they would have a role in OCS decisionmaking. He also said that "at the earliest, even if the legal and environmental hurdles were crossed, it would be 7 to 10 years before we could get significant production from the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, if indeed, oil exists there. We do not know if it does.”

March 22, 1972.—The Department of the Interior announced plans to conduct geological surveys and bottom sampling along the Atlantic OCS north of Cape Hatteras in the coming summer.

March 27, 1972.- Officials from Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hamsphire scheduled a meeting in Washington, D.C. with their congressional representatives and Interior Secretary Morton to halt plans for core drilling and other geological investigations by the U.S. Geological Survey on the Atlantic Shelf.

April 18, 1973.-President Nixon announced that the OCS leasing rate would be increased 1 million acres per year to 3 million acres per year, and that the 5-year tentative leasing schedule would be revised to reflect this acceleration.

April 18, 1973.—President Nixon directed the Council on Environmental Quality to study the environmental impact of oil and gas production on the Atlantic and Gulf of Alaska OCS.

July 1, 1973.—The Interior Department announced its decision to postpone planned geological and geophysical investigations in the Atlantic OCS off New England, while allowing the continuation of similar work in the Gulf of Alaska and adjacent Lower Cook Inlet.

July 10, 1973.—The Bureau of Land Management issued a proposed schedule of provisional OCS leasing, from 1973 to the end of fiscal year 1978.

94-224-77-6

September 12, 1973.—The CEQ opened public hearings on drilling for oil and gas off the east coast.

December 1973.—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opened an Atlantic OCS office in New York City.

December 14, 1973.—The Sierra Club, two Florida Congressmen, and other environmental groups filed suit to block a Federal lease sale off the shores of Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama. A Federal district court in Tampa ruled that the Sierra Club did not show sufficient cause to hold up the sale and refused to grant the requested injunction.

December 20, 1973.—The Department of the Interior received close to $1.5 billion in bids at the Federal lease sale of tracts off of Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama.

January 23, 1974.-The President directed that OCS leasing be further accelerated and that 10 million acres be leased in 1975.

January 24, 1974.-The Subcommitee on Immigration, Citizenship, and International Law of the House Committee on the Judiciary commenced hearings on OCS oil and gas policy. Further hearings were held on January 30, February 7, March 6, and March 17, 1974. Interior Department and large oil company representatives argued for no change in the OCS Act drafted by this Judiciary subcommittee in 1953. Representatives from States, environmental organizations, and citizen groups urged reform.

February 20, 1974.—The Department of the Interior published in the Federal Register a request for comment on 17 potential OCS oil and gas leasing areas. The responses ranked the areas of greatest potential as the Gulf of Alaska, the Central Gulf of Mexico, and the Beauford Sea respectively. Four companies ranked areas according to which frontier areas they would prefer to have leased first. In order of leasing priority, these areas were the mid-Atlantic, the Gulf of Alaska, and Cook Inlet.

March 1974.—The Secretary of the Interior created the OCS Research Management Advisory Board (recently redesignated as the OCS Environmental Studies Advisory Committee). This group advises the Secretary on the planning and implementation of BLM's environmental program, including baseline and monitoring studies and is composed

of State and Federal representatives. April 23-May 3, 1974.—The Senate Committee on Commerce held hearings on OCS oil and gas development pursuant to S. Res. 222.

May 1974.-The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a final environmental statement on proposed oil and gas development in the Santa Barbara Channel.

May 1, 1974.—The Department of the Interior promulgated OCS Order No. 11 for development of certain tracts in the Gulf of Mexico.

May 21, 1974.-The Senate Committee on Commerce, Subcommittee on Oceans and Atmosphere, held additional hearings pursuant to S. Res. 222 on OCS development.

July 16-23, 1974.- The Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs held hearings on S. 3221, a bill to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953.

August 5, 1974.-The Senate Commerce Committee held hearings in Boston on OCS oil and gas development.

September 18, 1974.-The Senate passed, on a 64-23 vote, S. 3221, a bill which provided for the orderly development of oil and gas on the OCS.

October 1, 1974.-The USGS published a notice of intention to develop operating orders prior to the commencement of drilling or producing in the Atlantic.

October 7, 1974.—The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure was told, in testimony given by Congressman John D. Dingell of Michigan, that the possibility of the Interior Department dealing with a ten million acre OCS leasing program was “appalling”. Mr. Dingell noted that the investigation conducted by his

House Small Business Subcommittee on the Activities of Regulatory Agencies indicated that Interior was unable to assure "that the Government received fair value for the (OCS) tracts it leases, that the Government knows the amount of the reserves underlying the leases, or that the Government is capable of administering and supervising operations on leases once they are let."

October 9, 1974.-Senator John V. Tunney of California introduced S. Res. 426, which would delay the Interior Department's intention to lease 10 million acres in 1975 until the coastal States have completed or "made reasonable progress" toward the completion of their coastal zone management programs.

October 16, 1974.- The Department of the Interior conducted an experimental lease sale in New Orleans, in which the sale of certain tracts was based on royalties the Government would receive from production.

October 18, 1974.-The Interior Department issued a draft environmental impact statement on the proposed ten million acre OCS leasing program.

November 13, 1974.-President Ford met with 18 coastal State Governors or their representatives to discuss the urgency of steppingup U.S. development of offshore energy resources. Several Departmental heads also participated.

November 13, 1974.-The Interior Department issued a revised OCS lease schedule through 1978. The schedule included five areas in the Atlantic, six offshore Alaska, and others in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore California.

November 14, 1974.-Interior Secretary Morton, who was also serving as Chairman of the Administration's Energy Resources Council, told a meeting of coastal States Governors that "expeditious development of the Outer Continental Shelf is the keystone to meeting the Nation's energy needs in the late 1970's and 1980'S.”

December 11, 1974.-The USGS issued new OCS orders requiring all geological and geophysical permits to require the permittee to furnish new and processed data upon the request of the USGS Supervisor.

December 17, 1974.-The Interior Department issued a call for nominations and comments on a possible OCS sale of 20.6 million acres in the southeastern part of the Bering Sea, off Alaska.

January-February 1975.-A series of meetings and conferences were held along the East Coast by coastal State Governors and gubernatorial representatives to discuss, at least in part, the OCS issue. State

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