The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The Painful Impact of an Offshore Drilling Ban

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted July 2, 2010

Have you considered what could happen if the United States banned all offshore drilling? Today Gulf U.S. offshore oil and natural gas production accounts for more than 30 percent of the oil and 13 percent of natural gas produced in the United States every year. (EIA) If drilling were stopped by government edict over safety and environmental concerns, the results could be catastrophic.

A new Heritage Foundation study shows between now and 2035 an offshore drilling ban would:

  • Reduce Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $5.5 trillion;
  • Reduce household spending for an American family of four by $2,381 per year and more than $4,000 in 2035;
  • Reduce job growth by more than one million jobs by 2015 and more than 1.5 million jobs by 2030; and
  • Increase the nation's spending for imported oil by nearly $737 billion.

David Kreutzer, Ph.D., and Johan Ligon, the study's authors, also say the impact of an offshore drilling ban would be felt for decades. In short, every American family would be poorer, jobs would be harder to find, the economy would take a major hit, and the nation would be sending more money overseas for energy that could be produced right here.

The Heritage Foundation developed the study to help policymakers evaluate arguments for limiting or eliminating offshore drilling. Kreutzer and Ligon warn policymakers, "A total ban on offshore drilling would pull the rug out from the economy's incipient recovery."