The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Offshore Energy and Florida

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 19, 2015

Like other states along the Atlantic coast, Florida could see substantial economic benefits from safe offshore oil and natural gas development – if Washington will allow it.

That’s a big “if.” A draft oil and natural gas leasing program – the subject of a scheduled public hearing today in Jacksonville – provides for just one lease sale in the Atlantic and not until 2021, almost at the end of a plan that covers the 2017 to 2022 time period. That could leave Florida and other states on the outside looking in at the benefits of offshore development.

A study by Quest Offshore Resources estimates that with offshore oil and natural gas drilling, Florida could see:

  • Nearly 100,000 jobs created by 2035 from activity in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico
  • $20 billion in revenues generated for the state’s budget by 2035 with revenue sharing in place

An infographic with Quest’s data, showing the progression of job creation during the exploration, development and production phases:

FL offshore energy chart

Nearly two-thirds of Florida voters in a recent poll say they support offshore development. That includes strong majorities of Republicans (76 percent), Democrats (58 percent) and Independents (62 percent). Nancy Stephens, Manufacturers Association of Florida:

“Offshore energy development is contributing to America’s energy renaissance and has revitalized the chemical and manufacturing industries, creating new job opportunities for Floridians.”

But, again, a more robust offshore leasing program than the draft plan is needed. The draft excludes too many energy-rich areas from leasing and development. It would do little to alter energy-limiting policies that currently keep 87 percent of federal offshore acreage off limits to safe development:

potential

The decisions made today are critically important because offshore energy takes years to develop. Without a more vigorous leasing program, the United States will fail to fully harness its offshore energy potential. We could squander a great opportunity to sustain and grow the ongoing energy revolution.

That’s the context for the scheduled public hearing in Jacksonville, where Florida – like Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina - should have its voice heard.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.