The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Cantor: Open Virginia's Coast to Energy Development

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 18, 2010

Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) met with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar yesterday to request that Atlantic offshore drilling move forward in the 2010-2015 leasing plan.

Under the plan, a portion of the Outer Continental Shelf about 50 miles off Virginia's coast would be offered for oil and natural gas development in 2011. Recently, however, Sec. Salazar told reporters that he was planning to roll the 2010-2015 plan into the 2012-2017 plan, which could signal a delay.

Cantor reports in a news release that he is "hopeful" the administration will open the Lease Sale 220 to bidders as soon as possible, citing the benefits of oil and natural gas development to Virginia's economy:

"During the last comment period conducted by MMS, nearly 8 in 10 Virginians expressed support for some form of offshore exploration. Offshore energy exploration has the potential to provide thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for Virginia and is supported by the people of the Commonwealth, our Governor, and our legislature. I appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with the Secretary to encourage him to move forward so that Virginia can responsibly develop and produce domestic energy off our shores."

The area that could be offered for energy development is believed to hold at least 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to a decades-old federal government survey. Other estimates indicate more than a half-billion barrels of oil and more than 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could be produced.

Sec. Salazar is expected to announce the administration's offshore leasing plans later this month.

Hat tip to J.R. Hoeft at Bearing Drift!