Full Title: The Real Costs of Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing
Author(s): Peter Howard, Max Sarinsky, Minhong Xu
Publisher(s): Institute for Policy Integrity
Publication Date: September 15, 2022
Full Text: Download Resource
In July 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released its proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas leasing program for 2023–2028. In that proposed program, BOEM considers holding up to 11 lease sales over the next five years located in the Gulf of Mexico and the Cook Inlet program areas, while also considering the possibility of holding no lease sales during the planning period.
BOEM recognizes that OCS oil and gas development exacerbates climate change, poses numerous environmental risks, and may have limited economic benefit as the nation transitions away from fossil-fuel energy. However, its “current analysis finds that there are potential net benefits” of the 11 proposed sales, whereas “a National OCS Program with no lease sales for 2023–2028 would reduce net benefits as substitute energy sources increase to meet the largely unchanged energy demand.” BOEM recognizes uncertainty in its net benefits analysis and seeks comment, with a particular request for feedback of its analysis of substitute energy sources.
This report provides comprehensive feedback on BOEM’s net benefits analysis. As the report details, BOEM vastly understates the environmental and social costs of OCS leasing by omitting key costs from its net benefits analysis such as climate damages from downstream greenhouse gas emissions and the costs of catastrophic oil spills. BOEM’s modeling choices throughout its net benefits analysis understate environmental risk.