Offshore drilling companies are poised to benefit after the Trump administration moved Thursday to open previously protected areas in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific to oil and gas exploration.
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The proposed five-year drilling plan would open millions of acres, or more than 90% of the U.S.’s coastal reserves to development, officials said. The plan is opposed by environmentalists and leading Democrats in coastal states, as well as Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican.
Offshore drilling companies saw shares rise after the announcement. Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) rose nearly 6% as of early Thursday afternoon, while Noble Corporation (NYSE:NE) and Parker Drilling (NYSE:PKD) rose more than 3% and Rowan Companies (NYSE:RDC) rose more than 2%.
“We want to grow our nation’s offshore energy industry, instead of slowly surrendering it to foreign shores,” Zinke said, adding that the proposal is tied to the Trump administration’s “American Energy Dominance” initiative.
Trump ordered the Interior Department to overhaul the Obama-era offshore drilling plan last April. Zinke says the plan will vastly increase the number of potential lease sales to private drillers.
Scott “is aggressively fighting to protect Florida’s environment by proposing more than $3.8 billion to preserve it,” a spokesman for the Florida governor’s office said, according to Reuters.