The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

'Explore Offshore' Coalition Backs More Access to Offshore Energy

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 8, 2018

Our industry supports increased access to America’s offshore natural gas and oil. The benefits promise to be broad for coastal states and the entire country. Responsible development is safe, well-regulated and compatible with other uses, including those of our military.

To advance the nation’s strategic interests that are tied to careful offshore natural gas and oil, API this week announced the launch of “Explore Offshore,” a diverse coalition of more than 100 local leaders, community organizations, businesses and associations from five Atlantic and Gulf Coast states that supports increased offshore access. (See some of the news coverage of the launch here, here and here.)


Former senator and U.S. Navy secretary Jim Webb, one of Explore Offshore’s national co-chairs, said America’s energy security and national security are one in the same and that domestic natural gas and oil production is key to a healthy national economy. Webb:

“This is a much-needed, commonsense step for America’s energy future. … Oil and natural gas are the key drivers of the world’s economies. We remain vulnerable in an expanding global economy marked by ever-growing energy needs. … America needs to correct a timeworn oversight and modernize the unnecessarily restrictive approach to the exploration and safe development of oil and national gas resources that lie offshore. Technology, drilling techniques and industry standards have all changed greatly since these restrictions were put into place. Our national policies should mirror the significant advances that have been made in these areas, for the good of our national security and of our economy.”

Fellow national co-chair Jim Nicholson, former Veterans Affairs secretary, said developing U.S. offshore energy has important national security aspects:

“With 94 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf currently off-limits to exploration and development, and demand for natural gas and oil expected to rise, we must take this opportunity to increase our domestic energy reserves. Domestic energy sources are critical to reliable and affordable energy for U.S. consumers, as well as an important source of energy for our military operations and ensuring that we don’t continue to rely on foreign adversaries for our energy. Offshore oil and natural gas development in the U.S. also provides important, higher-paying job opportunities for our veterans across the country.”

The economic benefits that could come from offshore development off the Atlantic Coast and in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico are numerous and important to beyond coastal areas. See individual state fact sheets for Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia

Here’s what others are saying about Explore Offshore’s launch and the coalition's goals:

Stephen Gilchrist, S.C. African American Chamber of Commerce, Explore Offshore state co-chairman:

“As chairman of the S.C. African American Chamber of Commerce and as an entrepreneur, I know how important affordable, reliable energy is to our members and state businesses. South Carolina now has an opportunity to be part of an effort that could bring high-paying jobs to our state as well as billions in private economic investment and state revenues through offshore oil and natural gas exploration and development. This could be a game-changer economically for many families across South Carolina. It’s time we explore offshore.”

Dr. Miriam Ramirez, Explore Offshore Florida co-chairman:

“As a native Puerto Rican and a volunteer to rebuild Puerto Rico from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, I know firsthand that we should not take for granted access to reliable energy. The Department of the Interior took a step in the right direction by proposing to open up additional areas of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico to new exploration for oil and natural gas. Our neighbors in the Gulf of Mexico support thriving tourism industries all while developing offshore energy resources that create high-paying jobs to those states, provide much needed state revenue and economic investment, and deliver greater energy security to America.”

Former Virginia Del. Winsome Sears, Explore Offshore state co-chairman:

“The potential benefits of developing Virginia’s offshore oil and natural gas resources could be a game-changer for communities throughout the Commonwealth, generating tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and hundreds of millions in much-needed state revenue. As a veteran, I know how important energy security is to national security as it lessens our dependence on foreign nations. Responsible offshore oil and natural gas development can make our nation more secure, while growing our economy here in the Commonwealth.”

Nat Robertson, former Fayetteville, N.C., mayor, Explore Offshore state co-chairman:

“As a former mayor, I understand first-hand the importance of natural gas and oil production to both our economy and reliable and affordable prices at the pump. North Carolina has a great opportunity before us with Secretary Zinke’s plan to open up the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf to oil and natural gas exploration. In fact, the average salary for oil and natural gas exploration and development is $116,000 – substantially more than our state average. With the recent advances in technology and a robust regulatory regime that’s already in place, offshore exploration and development can be accomplished safely and responsibly without harming our beaches or our tourism industry. It is time we take this commonsense step for America’s energy future and explore offshore as part of an immediate comprehensive energy program."

Georgia Petroleum Council Director Hunter Hopkins, Explore Offshore state chairman: 

“A strong economy depends on reliable and affordable energy. Georgia has real potential to see thousands of new well-paid jobs appear in the state with the recent Department of the Interior’s proposal to study and explore the outer continental shelf for oil and natural gas. Many of our communities across Georgia could reap the benefits from offshore energy development as it would generate new state revenues for public schools and infrastructure.”


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.