HOUSTON May 10 The U.S. Department of Interior
on Wednesday said it would begin reviewing permit applications
from six companies seeking to conduct seismic surveys in the
Atlantic Ocean, marking a sharp reversal from the previous
administration’s stance on oil and gas exploration activities
off the U.S. East Coast.
The move comes roughly one week after Interior Secretary
Ryan Zinke issued a Secretarial Order to implement President
Donald Trump’s directive to review drilling bans for parts of
the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Ocean as part of his
America-First Offshore Energy Strategy.
The six companies - TGS Nopec Geophysical Company ASA
, GX Technology Corp, WesternGeco Ltd, CGG Services Inc
, Spectrum Geo and Petroleum Geo Services ASA
- were previously denied permits to conduct seismic
surveys in the Atlantic portion of the U.S. Outer Continental
The surveys can be used to help determine the location and
size of potential oil and gas reserves.
The decision is likely to anger environmentalists and
lawmakers in coastal states who have either pushed to move to
away from fossil fuels to renewable fuels or are concerned about
environmental impacts on tourism.
The Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) estimates the U.S.
Outer Continental Shelf contains some 90 billion barrels of
undiscovered but technically recoverable oil and some 327
trillion cubic feet of gas.
(Reporting By Liz Hampton in Houston; Editing by Marguerita