Oil industry blasts Biden administration’s rules restricting ships in Gulf of Mexico

US Gulf of Mexico drillship market improving | Offshore


The American Petroleum Institute came out blasting the Biden administration’s decision Monday, recommending restrictions on oil and natural gas vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Today’s notice from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is yet another example of the Biden administration working to restrict American energy, which could lead to higher energy costs and weaken U.S. security,” said Holly Hopkins, Vice President of Upstream Policy for the API.

She said the recommended actions are not justified by existing data nor operational experience and would “unfairly single out oil and gas traffic in an area that is one of the most used maritime areas in U.S. waters.”

  • The Gulf of Mexico produces some of the lowest carbon intensity barrels in the world. Constrained production in this basin could be replaced by higher carbon intensity barrels from elsewhere in the world.
  • According to the U.S. EIA, Gulf of Mexico federal offshore oil production accounts for 15% of total U.S. crude oil production and federal offshore natural gas production in the Gulf accounts for 5% of total U.S. dry production.
  • Over 47% of total U.S. petroleum refining capacity is located along the Gulf coast, as well as 51% of total U.S. natural gas processing plant capacity.
  • The agreement’s proposed operating “recommendations” would impose significant burdens on operators and increase emissions from vessels forced to operate at suboptimal speeds or idle outside the restriction areas.
  • Adopting the nighttime and low visibility restrictions could cut transit windows to approximately 50%– requiring industry to balance the government’s recommended practices against safely and efficiently servicing ongoing operations.
  • These restrictions would unfairly single out oil and gas traffic in an area that is one of the most used maritime areas in U.S. waters by a variety of industries. Thousands of vessels pass through this area every day.

Source: API press release