"The massive Gulf of Mexico discovery contains an estimated one billion barrels of recoverable oil, the company says. The Interior Department, which regulates offshore drilling, says Exxon's leases have expired and the company hasn't met the requirements for an extension. Exxon has sued to retain the leases.
The court battle is playing out at a time in which the Obama administration has made an issue of unused leases, which deprive the Treasury of valuable taxes. It also comes as regulators are being careful not to be seen as lax in their dealings with large energy companies in the wake of last year's BP PLC spill.
The stakes are high: Under federal law, the leases—and all the oil underneath—could revert to the government if Exxon doesn't win in court."
August 18, 2011
What a wonderful saga this will be in in the 2012 political campaign. TeamObama against 'big oil.' This will be tasty fodder for the talking heads in the coming months.
Here's the compromise: The Exxon part of the Julia field discovery becomes part of the Strategic Oil Reserve and TeamObama takes credit for the millions of tons of carbon dioxide sequestered that will mitigate global warming <grin>.