WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to extend offshore oil and gas drilling to areas that have been off limits - a move meant to boost domestic production but which could fall flat due to weak industry demand for the acreage.
The order could open up swathes of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans, as well as the US Gulf of Mexico, that former President Barack Obama had sought to protect from development after a huge BP oil spill in 2010.
‘Oil deal bears fruit, US pumps more'
“We’re opening it up....Today we’re unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying American energy jobs,” said Trump as he signed the order.
Trump had campaigned on a promise to do away with Obama-era environmental protections that he said were hobbling energy development without providing tangible benefits, pleasing industry and enraging environmental advocates.
But the executive order, called the America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, comes as low oil prices and soaring onshore production have pushed industry demand for offshore leases near their lowest level in years, raising questions over the impact.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2017.
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