The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Obama's Offshore Drilling Plan is a 'Positive Development'

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 31, 2010

UPDATE (5/28/10): Read a more recent statement from API President and CEO Jack Gerard regarding President Obama's May 27 announcement delaying and cancelling some offshore development projects.


President Obama announced an energy strategy today that includes expanding offshore drilling in certain areas along the Atlantic coast, in a portion of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and off the coast of Alaska.


API President and CEO Jack Gerard responded by saying:

"The announcement by President Obama and Secretary Salazar is a positive development. We look forward to reviewing the details of the proposal, and we stand ready to work with them to make this a reality. We appreciate the administration's recognition of the importance of developing our nation's oil and natural gas resources to create jobs, generate revenues and fuel our nation's economy."

It's estimated that the Eastern Gulf of Mexico could hold 3.8 billion barrels of oil and 21.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Opening the Atlantic coastline from northern Delaware to southern Florida could make available another 3.8 billion barrels of oil and 15.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to estimates. This area includes the proposed Lease Sale 220 which is 50 miles off Virginia's coast and has been scheduled for 2011.

The president's plan cancels future Alaska lease sales scheduled in the current Interior Department offshore leasing plan, except for Cook Inlet. The administration's next leasing plan is expected to include sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas as well as the Cook Inlet.

The offshore areas that would be off-limits to development include the New England Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the Pacific OCS, and a large portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico where the Destin Dome, a proven natural gas field, is located.

Jack Gerard said today:

"As we move forward, we hope that consideration can be given to other resource-rich regions, such as the Destin Dome area of the Eastern Gulf and areas off the Pacific Coast and Alaska. We also need to ensure that the permitting processes are handled in an expeditious way. The oil and natural gas industry has a proven track record of safe oil and natural gas development and the majority of the American people recognize this by supporting greater development for the benefit of their communities, their states and their nation."