USA: Trump boosts budgets for offshore energy agencies

U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2019 budgets for two government agencies supporting the development of the nation’s offshore energy resources has been increased compared to the prior-year budget. 

Namely, President Trump’s proposed budgets for the two government agencies, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), totaled $379.2 million. This amount is part of the Department of Interior’s total FY 2019 budget of $11.7 billion.

Both agencies made the announcements regarding the budgets on Monday, February 12.

BOEM budget

BOEM said that the President’s $179.3 million FY 2019 budget request focused on the development of BOEM’s mission, including offshore oil and gas exploration and development, offshore renewable energy, marine minerals management, and science-based analysis. The proposed budget for 2019 has seen an increase of $10.9M compared to the one for FY 2018 which totaled $168.4 million.

The $179.3 million proposed budget includes $129.5 million in current appropriations and $49.8 million in offsetting collections from offshore rental receipts and other cost recoveries.

It supports ongoing efforts vital to advancing President Trump’s Executive Order 13795, implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy.

The strategy requires BOEM to develop and implement a new National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program in conformity with the provisions of the OCS Lands Act.

Walter Cruickshank, BOEM acting director, said: “BOEM’s FY 2019 request is responsive to the Administration’s America-First Offshore Energy Strategy. It recognizes BOEM’s vital role in advancing responsible offshore energy development as part of the Administration’s comprehensive effort to secure the nation’s energy future, benefit the economy, and create jobs.”

To remind, on January 4, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the Draft Proposed Program (DPP) for the 2019-2024 National OCS Program, which proposes 47 potential lease sales for consideration – the largest number of lease sales ever proposed for a National OCS Program’s five-year lease schedule. The plan has seen resistance from various groups and politicians, especially related to exploration off the coast of Florida.

The resistance prompted Zinke to remove Florida from future offshore drilling plans but the validity of the removal has later been questioned by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida.

The budget request also includes $9.4 million to build a new National OCS Program that considers the 25 planning areas identified by the DPP and begins implementation of the new National Program.

BSEE budget

In a separate statement, the BSEE said that Trump proposed a $199.9 million FY 2019 budget for the safety agency. Compared to 2018 budget which amounted to $178.3 million, the proposed budget for 2019 has been increased by $21.7M.

According to the BSEE, the budget will support the Administration’s objective of increasing domestic oil and gas production by reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens while maintaining or advancing the level of safety and environmental protection.

The BSEE said that the FY 2019 budget request included an estimate of $67.9 million in offsetting collections. Offsetting collections includes $20.3 million for rental receipts, $3.8 million for cost recoveries, and $43.8 million for inspection fees.

BSEE director Scott A. Angelle said: “The President’s proposed FY 2019 budget will enable BSEE to fulfill its mission to ensure the safe and environmentally sustainable exploration, development, and production of America’s offshore energy resources.”

The 2019 budget request supports a total program of $187.2 million for Offshore Safety and Environmental Enforcement programs. This total consists of $119.4 million in appropriated funds, and assumes offsetting rental receipt and cost recovery collections of $24.1 million.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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