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United States: Obama reveals offshore development strategy

THE LONG-awaited strategy for energy exploration and development in US coastal waters is a comprehensive plan that Interior Department secretary Ken Salazar hailed as "a new direction" for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)

The strategy, made public on 31 March in a speech at a military base in Maryland, has something for everyone: oil and gas companies, environmentalists and drilling proponents in Congress. It calls for the opening-up of more of the resource-rich eastern Gulf of Mexico (GOM), including areas at least 125 miles offshore Florida that the Interior Department believes could boost total Gulf oil production by 100m barrels within two decades. At present, the region is closed to development under a Congressional moratorium. Says Salazar: "Our efforts to strategically open new areas in the eastern Gulf would represent the largest expansion of our nation's available offshore oil and gas supplies in th

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