The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Offshore Energy and South Carolina

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 20, 2015

Federal officials continue to hold public hearings on a draft offshore oil and natural gas leasing program that, when finalized, would largely determine where offshore energy development can occur from 2017 to 2022. Given the lead times needed for offshore development, the federal leasing program is vitally important to America’s energy production and energy security.

Safe offshore development benefits the country but especially states that would host operations in their coastal waters. We’ve looked at how offshore oil and natural gas development would benefit Virginia and North Carolina – in terms of jobs and revenues generated for state budgets. Today, South Carolina.

A study by Quest Offshore Resources estimates offshore energy could:

  • Create 35,000 jobs in South Carolina by 2035
  • Generate more than $3.7 billion for the state budget by 2035 with revenue sharing in place

Quest’s chart showing the pace of job creation in South Carolina from offshore leasing, exploration, development and production:

SC Projected Employment Gains

South Carolinians support offshore drilling and production. A recent poll showed more than seven in 10 favor oil and natural gas development in the state’s coastal waters. This includes 78 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Independents. Gov. Nikki Haley:

“Exploring for energy off the coast is a critical economic development issue.”

South Carolina’s input on the draft leasing plan is important. In its present state, the plan is too limited, too timid, for the kind of offshore development needed in the future. As written, the leasing program would offer just one Atlantic sale in 2021, while other areas are excluded entirely – doing little to change the fact that 87 percent of federal offshore acreage is off limits to safe development:


Offshore energy is crucial to sustain and grow America’s ongoing energy revolution, which is creating jobs, boosting our economy, benefiting consumers and making the U.S. more energy secure. South Carolina agrees, and this should be reflected in the finalized offshore leasing program.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.