Stay informed with free updates
Simply register at Oil and gas industry myFT Digest – delivered straight to your inbox.
The US oil and gas industry is suing the Biden administration over its decision to severely restrict offshore drilling, amid a growing industry backlash against its climate and energy policies.
The American Petroleum Institute, an advocacy group, accused the U.S. government of using “every tool at its disposal” to restrict access to resources in federal waters. She said she must act to prevent consumers from having to rely on foreign supplies and preserve their energy security.
In September, the U.S. Interior Department revealed plans to hold just three offshore lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico between 2025 and 2029, dealing a blow to the ambitions of producers in the oil-rich region. The record number of planned sales in nearly half a century of federal offshore leasing is a fraction of that of an initial proposal of 47 made under former President Donald Trump.
The decision was criticized by the industry, which lobbied hard for greater access to the Gulf of Mexico. But it was also criticized by environmental campaigners, who called it a “missed opportunity” to minimize future drilling.
Federal waters in the Gulf account for about 2 million barrels of crude oil per day, or about 15 percent of total U.S. production, which recently hit new records.
“By launching a five-year program with the fewest lease sales in history, the administration is limiting access to a region responsible for producing the world’s lowest-carbon barrels, exposing U.S. consumers at a greater risk of depending on foreign sources for their purchases. our future energy needs,” said Ryan Meyers, API general counsel.
API filed its petition with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Alleging that it was “arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law,” the lawsuit asked the court to review the administration’s decision. The Interior Ministry declined to comment.
The court case comes amid an increasingly bitter dispute between the industry and the Biden administration over the latter’s recent pause in approvals of new terminals for liquefied natural gas exports, while it examines considerations such as greenhouse gas emissions and national energy costs.
The administration’s moves on offshore drilling and LNG come ahead of this year’s election, where President Joe Biden is appealing to climate-minded voters to prevent Trump, his most likely challenger, from gaining power and destroying his climate policy.
If elected, Trump has pledged to reverse the pause on LNG approvals during his first week back in office.
Where climate change meets business, markets and politics. Check out the FT’s coverage here.
Are you curious about the FT’s commitments to environmental sustainability? Learn more about our science-based goals here