"U.S. Unveils Final Drilling Plan, Limits Arctic Sales"

"U.S. oil companies will be allowed to drill in more areas of the Gulf of Mexico but won only limited access to the Arctic under the final version of the Obama Administration's five year drilling plan that was slammed by industry and some environmentalists."

"The 2012-2017 plan calls for three potential lease sales in areas offshore Alaska but the auctions would not be held until the final years of the plan because of environmental concerns about operating in the Arctic.

'Put simply, this program opens the vast majority of known offshore oil and gas resources for development over the next five years and includes a cautious but forward-looking leasing strategy for the Alaska Arctic,' said Secretary Ken Salazar.

The plan was called 'too restrictive' by the American Petroleum Institute and criticized by Republican lawmakers who are sure to blast the drilling blueprint on the campaign trail."

Russ Blinch reports for Reuters June 12, 2012.

Source: Reuters, 06/29/2012