US to tap Alaskan oil reserves, reopen Gulf of Mexico

America has finally decided to open up its oil reserves. Pressed by rising international prices of crude oil and opposition pressure for cheaper oil, President Barack Obama today announced plans to tap oil reserves in Alaska and reopen oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, which remained closed after the BP oil spill.

The department of interior will conduct annual lease sales in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, once reserved for the US military, Obama said in his weekly address.

"I am directing the department of interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, while respecting sensitive areas, and to speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic," Obama said in his address.

He said the administration will extend drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico and that he has asked regulatory authorities to allow more time for explorers to meet higher safety standards.

"We plan to lease new areas in the Gulf of Mexico as well, and work to create new incentives for industry to develop their unused leases both on and offshore," Obama added.

The President, who is under pressure from Republicans and the public to bring down gasoline prices, said the government would also authorise new exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.