The U.S. Interior Department intends to temporarily recall some workers furloughed by the partial federal government shutdown to prepare an upcoming Gulf of Mexico oil lease sale, using funds left over from last year, according to a department document.
The move would add to the administration’s push on its energy portfolio despite the partial shutdown.
“If the lapse in appropriations extends past Jan. 15, additional personnel will be designated as exempt to complete work to publish Proposed Notice for Gulf of Mexico Sale 253 and Final Notice of Sale and Record of Decision for Gulf of Mexico Sale 252,” Interior said in its shutdown contingency plan.
“These employees will be designated as exempt for only the amount of time needed to complete this work. They will be funded through carryover,” it said.
The Interior Department’s Sale 252 is scheduled for March, and will offer some 78 million acres (31.5 million hectares) across the Gulf of Mexico region. Recent lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico have drawn relatively weak interest from oil and gas drillers doing well in lower-cost onshore plays, despite the administration’s efforts to pump up the region with lower royalty rates.
The Interior Department is already keeping some personnel working on other energy efforts it says are exempted from the shutdown, including the Trump administration’s push for the expansion of oil drilling on sensitive, federally owned lands in Arctic Alaska.
2022-11-28 - CEO Bernard Looney has radically shifted BP’s focus since taking office in 2020 and its Statistical Review of World Energy report has been seen by some BP executives as detrimental to the company’s new direction, sources told Reuters.
2022-10-27 - Eight foreign companies among Venezuela state oil company PDVSA’s 44 joint ventures have transferred or given up stakes since 2018.
2022-10-03 - The swap included oil executives of Citgo Petroleum held for years in Venezuela, in addition to U.S. Marine veteran Matthew Heath and another U.S. citizen named Osman Khan.
2022-11-26 - The U.S. authorization “brings added transparency to the Venezuelan oil sector” and allows Chevron to benefit from sales of “oil that is currently being produced” by its joint ventures with PDVSA, the California-based company said in a statement.
2022-11-10 - In the third quarter of 2022, Citgo Petroleum's three refineries processed a combined total of 780,000 bbl/d and exported 196,000 bbl/d of refined products.