Feds: Royalty exemption for new shallow-water Gulf wells
By JANET McCONNAUGHEY
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The federal agencies that make and enforce offshore oil and gas leases say they’ll encourage new wells in shallow Gulf of Mexico waters by allowing some reduced-royalty or even royalty-free production if owners can prove they need it.
Officials say $20 billion worth of oil and gas may go untapped without changes described in a report issued Tuesday. They call for a bigger break for shallow-water wells than for those in more than 200 meters (656 feet) of water.
An enforcement agency spokeswoman says they take effect immediately.
The Center for American Progress and an environmental group call it a giveaway.
Recent shallow-water leases have royalties of 12.5 percent, the legal minimum.
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