Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


This study is a comparative analysis of the offshore oil and gas leasing programs of Alabama, Texas, and the Federal government. It focuses upon the legal and political, rather than resource, technological, or economic problems that have left the Federal program with a record of unmet expectations and growing frustration. The long history of turmoil that has embroiled the Federal leasing program since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and Arab oil crises is reviewed. The leasing and regulatory programs of Alabama, Texas, and the Federal government are outlined. Alternatives to current Federal procedures, reflecting State practices, are considered, including the environmental coding system, and regular, semi-annual lease sale schedule in Texas, and strict, zero-discharge environmental regulations, and high royalty rates and taxes in Alabama. The common attributes of any offshore oil and gas leasing program are discussed. Special emphasis is given to varying methods for distributing exploration and development rights; each program's ability to capture the economic returns on rights and resources; and the utilization of regulatory authority. The legal authority over the submerged lands and resources for each jurisdiction is also established.