The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

A Plan for America’s Offshore Energy Future

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted October 22, 2013

Domestic oil and natural gas development is a key driver of America’s economy and global energy security, API’s director of upstream and industry operations Erik Milito told reporters yesterday. Access to offshore resources currently off-limits in the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico  could supply even more of the energy and jobs Americans need. Milito:

“Americans are eager to put more of our offshore energy resources to work. If exploration and development is allowed to safely expand to new areas, domestic oil and natural gas could provide more energy, jobs and government revenue than ever before.”

Sixty-seven percent of voters nationwide support offshore drilling for domestic oil and natural gas resources, according to a new poll released today. Similar levels of support for offshore drilling were found in four state-specific polls conducted recently in Virginia (67 percent), North Carolina (65 percent), South Carolina (77 percent) and Florida (64 percent). Nationwide, 90 percent of voters say producing more oil and natural gas here at home is important. Increasing domestic oil and natural gas production is also important to 88 percent of Virginians, 89 percent of North Carolinians, 91 percent of South Carolinians, and 87 percent of Floridians.  

The Obama Administration is currently working on the next five-year offshore leasing plan, in which areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico could be included for oil and natural gas leasing. Early next year, the administration is also expected to decide whether to permit seismic surveys in the Atlantic from Delaware to northern Florida for the first time in 30 years. Seismic surveys have been used for decades to assess the location and size of potential oil and natural gas deposits, which often lay several miles beneath the ocean floor.

Permits would allow new seismic surveys to take place. But for companies to actually invest millions of dollars into surveying places that are currently off-limits for oil and natural gas leasing, the Administration must clearly signal that the off-limits areas will be considerered for lease sales down the road.

Unlocking access to American sources of oil and natural gas would create new, good jobs when millions are still looking for work; bring billions of dollars to federal and state treasuries as governments are scrambling for revenue; reduce our balance of trade, and enhance America’s energy security. 


Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.