Saturday, June 30, 2012
The Obama administration’s latest five-year oil-leasing plan angered Republicans, who sought to open more areas for drilling, and environmentalists, who said drilling may lead to disasters similar to BP Plc’s (BP/) 2010 spill.
The plan released yesterday by the U.S. Interior Department scheduled 15 lease sales through 2017, in the Gulf of Mexico and Arctic waters, while keeping the Atlantic and Pacific coasts off limits.
President Barack Obama has set a target of reducing U.S. oil imports by a third by 2025 through more domestic oil production and increased use of natural gas and renewable resources. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has called for more extensive drilling.
The five-year plan includes 12 sales in the Gulf of Mexico, an auction in Alaska’s Cook Inlet in 2016, in Chukchi Sea in 2016 and in the Beaufort Sea in 2017. The regions hold more than 75 percent of total undiscovered and recoverable oil, according to the agency.