OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House to advance GOP-led drilling bill

The bill is expected to pass, but won’t go anywhere in the Senate, and the White House has threatened to veto the measure.


Interior Secretary says ‘the Gulf is back’


Obama administration officials seeking to show their pro-oil bona fides say they are delighted with the latest auction of drilling leases in the central Gulf of Mexico.

Top Interior Department officials went to New Orleans to announce the results of the sale, which attracted $1.7 billion in winning bids for drilling blocs off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The highest single bid — $157 million — was offered by Statoil, while Shell submitted the highest amount of total wining bids with roughly $407 million.

Shell, BP, Exxon, Statoil, Chevron as well as several big independent companies spent considerable sums, which Interior tallied up here.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was cheerful about the the level of bidding two years after the BP oil spill, calling it a sign that new development and tougher drilling-safety rules imposed after the spill can go hand in hand.

“Today is a good day because it is proof positive that the oil-and-gas industry is confident that they can meet the heightened safety standards,” Salazar said Wednesday after the lease sale.

“It shows that the Gulf is back, that there is great robustness in terms of oil-and-gas activity currently under way in the Gulf and interest in additional exploration,” he told reporters on a conference call.

Renewables forum includes lawmakers, White House official

Thursday brings the 15th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum. Speakers include White House energy aide Dan Utech and senior officials from the Interior and Energy departments and EPA.

The event will also feature Defense Department officials working on the military’s green-energy programs and several members of Congress. Check out the lineup and schedule here.


Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Wednesday ...  

- GOP seeks to punish vulnerable Senate Dems on EPA vote

- House Dems press Interior to toughen fracking rule

- House panel advances bill that slashes EPA funding

- Bill to kill EPA coal plant rules thwarted in Senate

- Discontent with Obama in coal country grows

Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com

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