The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energizing Virginia

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 15, 2016

Virginia, like North Carolina to the south, is believed to host sizeable oil and natural gas reserves off its Atlantic Coast. According to federal estimates, the Mid-Atlantic offshore area (also including Maryland and North Carolina) could hold 2.41 billion barrels of oil and more than 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Development of those resources could turn Virginia into an energy powerhouse.

VaClick on the thumbnail for a two-page energy infographic for the Old Dominion.

Virginia supports safe and responsible offshore energy development. Earlier this year a survey of registered voters in the state found that 65 percent favor offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. This is reflected in the fact Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the state’s two U.S. senators, and a majority of its U.S. House delegation all have backed offshore development.

Unfortunately, that energy is off limits to development – part of the 87 percent of federal offshore acreage where development is barred. Federal officials are finalizing the government’s 2017-2022 offshore leasing program, a draft version of which only included one proposed Atlantic lease sale.

Meanwhile, the commonwealth is a big natural gas user. Last year natural gas became the leading generator of net electric power in the state (40 percent), surpassing power from the state’s two nuclear reactors for the first time. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, two of Virginia’s natural gas fields ranked among the country’s top 100 fields, so there is potential for increased production.

Increased energy production, onshore and offshore, is the way for the United States to continue to lead the world in oil and natural gas output – which is boosting the economy and making America more energy secure. To sustain and expand America’s energy renaissance, we need pro-development policies, including expansion of offshore opportunities. Page 2 of the infographic shows the broad benefits that could be provided through a pro-development path, as well as the negative impacts of policies that are marked by regulatory constraints.

Energy is essential for virtually every aspect of our daily lives. It powers national, state and local economies, gets us to work and goes into products we rely on for health and comfort. Safe, responsible energy development here at home is linked to national security as well as Americans’ individual prosperity and liberty – in Virginia and all the 50 states of energy.


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.