The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Virginia's Offshore Potential

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted January 10, 2011

Despite the administration's decision to ban offshore drilling in the Atlantic for at least seven years, many Virginia residents continue to look forward to the time when their portion of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) can produce energy as well as bring jobs and revenues to the Commonwealth.

There's no doubt that the economic benefits of offshore development would be welcomed throughout the Commonwealth, including in the seaside community of Norfolk.

A study by ICF International estimates that development in federal waters offshore Virginia could produce more than a half-billion barrels of oil and more than 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That much natural gas could heat the equivalent of Virginia's 3.2 million households for more than 11 years. A half-billion barrels of oil is enough to fuel all 4 million Virginia cars for more than four years. Plus, offshore development would create jobs and generate nearly $20 billion in federal, state and local government revenues.

The oil and natural gas industry already supports more than 143,000 jobs in Virginia, which add $12 billion to its gross state product accounting for 3.1 percent of Virginia's wealth.