Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today voted in favor of S. 3711, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, which would open up certain areas within Lease Sale 181 in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and natural gas exploration. The bill passed by a vote of 71 to 25.

Lease Sale 181 is located in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico that spans 2.9 million acres and would provide the greatest near-term option for the additional supply of oil and natural gas in the United States.

"With gas prices hitting record highs, America must take viable steps to become more energy independent and bring down fuel costs for consumers," Thune said. "The bill I voted for today would open up acres in the Gulf of Mexico known to be rich in untapped oil and natural gas reserves so we can start extracting and using more of our own energy sources. The untapped natural gas in this part of the Gulf would be enough to heat nearly 6 million homes for 15 years. Those are meaningful statistics in states with long and harsh winters like South Dakota.

"It is not wise for America to rely so heavily on foreign oil. Political unrest and instability in oil-producing regions can disrupt our supply at any moment and leave Americans paying burdensome prices not just for utilities but also at the gas pump.

"Legislation like this is yet another way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and bring down gas prices for all Americans."

Importance of S. 3711:

  • Provides for opening over 8.3 million acres on the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas leasing as soon as practicable, but no later than one year from the date of enactment.

  • Will develop an estimated 1.26 billion barrels of oil and 5.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

  • The natural gas supply made available by this agreement is enough to heat and cool nearly 6 million homes for 15 years.

  • Over a six year period, America's annual natural gas bill rose from $50 billion to $200 billion, thus damaging the U.S. job base and our industrial competitiveness.

  • The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that if we continue down our current path, North America's petroleum imports from the Persian Gulf will increase by more than 40 percent over the next 25 years.

  • This agreement opens access to 1.25 billion barrels of oil. According to EIA, in 2025, U.S. petroleum supply is projected to be 10.4 million barrels per day, while our demand is expected to be 26.1 million barrels per day.