Posted on December 20, 2023
The US has slashed the number of oil and gas leases it plans to offer to the minimum needed to push its new offshore wind leases.
Under the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) can only issue a lease for offshore wind development after offering at least 60m acres for oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the previous year.
The US Department of the Interior published its final 2024-2029 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, scheduling three oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico in 2025, 2027 and 2029, the fewest ever offered.
This provides for the minimum number of leases needed to push the Interior Department’s offshore wind energy programme as it aims to reach 30GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.
The areas considered for leasing and number of lease sales in the 2024-2029 Final Program have been significantly narrowed from the previous administration’s original proposal of 47 lease sales off all coastal areas in the US.