Overnight Energy: Interior drilling auction sees few bids | Big oil targets Florida in offshore drilling fight | Puerto Rico utility says all customers now have power

Overnight Energy: Interior drilling auction sees few bids | Big oil targets Florida in offshore drilling fight | Puerto Rico utility says all customers now have power
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FEWER THAN 1 PERCENT OF AUCTIONED OFFSHORE DRILLING TRACTS GOT BIDS: Oil and gas companies bid on fewer than one percent of the offshore tracts made available by the Trump administration during an auction Wednesday.

Of the 14,622 tracts made available by the Interior department for bidding on 801,288 acres in federal waters off the Gulf of Mexico, only 144 received bids.

The percentage of tracts bid on was slightly less than the previous lease sale in March that leased just over 1 percent of tracts made available.


The administration Wednesday though hailed the latest sale as a success, promoting the nearly $180,000,000 in sales generated in a press release.


"Today's lease sale is yet another step our nation has taken to achieve economic security and energy dominance," Interior Deputy Secretary Bernhardt said in a statement. "The results from the lease sale will help secure well-paying offshore jobs for rig and platform workers, support staff onshore, and related industry jobs, while generating much-needed revenue to fund everything from conservation to infrastructure."


Putting it in context: The last sale in March was the biggest offshore lease sale in United States history--with 77.3 million acres made available.  The sale saw 33 companies bidding on plots off the cost of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for $124.8 million. Of the 14,474 tracts available for bidding only 148 tracts received any bids.

The Obama administration held much smaller sales that focused only on areas where oil companies had expressed interest.

Read more here.



Happy Wednesday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill.


BIG OIL TARGETS FLORIDA IN OFFSHORE DRILLING PUSH: The oil industry is undertaking a new public relations campaign to push for offshore drilling along Florida's coast.

The American Petroleum Institute's Explore Offshore program, launched in June to promote offshore drilling, held its first Florida event Wednesday.

The Trump administration's January proposal to allow offshore oil and natural gas drilling all along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts met strong opposition in many places, but it was especially widespread in Florida.

That quickly prompted Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeBLM issues final plan for reduced Utah monument New policy at Interior's in-house watchdog clamps down on interactions with press Overnight Energy: EPA proposes scrapping limits on coal plant waste | Appointee overseeing federal lands once advocated selling them | EPA lifts Obama-era block on controversial mine MORE to promise that no drilling would be allowed in the water near either side of Florida.

But the oil industry has nonetheless pushed for some compromise, including allowing some new drilling with a large margin around the state.

"Our American way of life and the freedoms we enjoy are undoubtedly linked to access to affordable, reliable energy. At the same time, 94 percent of America's offshore energy resources are completely off-limits to natural gas and oil development, disallowing hundreds of thousands of American jobs and abundant domestic energy supply, and keeping us reliant on foreign sources," Jim Nicholson, co-chairman of Explore Offshore, said in a statement.

"Affordable energy is critical to the quality of life in the Sunshine State," said Jeff Kottkamp, the Florida co-chairman for the campaign and a former Republican lieutenant governor of the state.

"We are speaking with our local leaders throughout Florida to discuss ways to maintain our state's natural beauty and meet the energy needs of our growing population of over 20 million residents and 110 million annual visitors."

Read more here.


PUERTO RICO UTILITY SAYS POWER RESTORED TO ALL: Puerto Rico's government-owned utility has restored electricity to all of its customers, nearly 11 months after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) tweeted about the milestone Tuesday, identifying the residents of the final house as Charlie, Jazmín and their children in Ponce.

PREPA specified to ABC News that 100 percent of customers eligible for restored service have received it, leaving some with damaged lines or who rely on lines through the El Yunque National Forest yet to get electricity.

Maria hit Puerto Rico Sept. 20, likely killing more than 1,000 people. The power infrastructure there was already in a dilapidated state and PREPA was billions of dollars in debt, and the storm knocked out nearly the entire island's electricity.

Read more here.



The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of two individuals for Energy Department posts: William Cooper to be general counsel and Lane Genatowski to lead the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy.

The Senate Environment and Public Works committee will hold a hearing to examine sections of the Clean Water Act and the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2018.



Japan's ministry of environment said it lost a 10 kilogram sample of contaminated soil from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Asahi Shimbun reports.

Oil prices fell to a 10-week low Wednesday after a robust stockpile report, Bloomberg News reports.



Check out Wednesday's stories ...

-Oil industry targets Florida in new offshore drilling advocacy push

-Fewer than 1 percent of offshore drilling tracts auctioned by Trump receive bids

-Puerto Rico utility says it has restored power to all its customers