U.S. To Sell First Offshore Gulf Leases Since Spill
No new offshore drilling leases have been sold since summer 2010, when BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent well blowout caught the world’s attention and marred the oil industry’s already fragile image. Now, the U.S. Interior Department is preparing to reopen sales of exploration and production leases.
The offshore lease sales will cover more than 20 million acres of the Western Gulf of Mexico. Sales are expected to open December 14, 2011.
“This sale is an important step toward a secure energy future that includes safe, environmentally-sound development of our domestic energy resources,” Ken Salazar, the Interior secretary, said. “Since Deepwater Horizon, we have strengthened oversight at every stage of the oil and gas development process, including deepwater drilling safety, subsea blowout containment, and spill response capability.
“Exploration and development of our western gulf’s vital energy resources will continue to help power our nation and drive our economy.”
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Lease offerings are to include parcels located between nine and 250 miles offshore in depths from 16 to 11,000 feet. The Interior Department believes the underwater plays could hold 222 to 423 million barrels of oil and 1.49 to 2.65 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Interior Department is also raising the minimum bid on parcels deeper than 1,312 feet from $37.50 to $100. Analysis from the last 15 years reveals that bids of less than $100 per acre have experienced virtually no exploration or development. Officials complain that oil companies have locked up millions of acres of onshore and offshore resources but have not produced oil from them.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.