Offshore drilling innovations are unlocking U.S. oil and natural gas resources previously thought inaccessible, helping us meet rising global energy demand. Today, nearly 30 percent of our nation’s total domestic oil production and 13 percent of domestic natural gas production comes from the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), areas in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)—off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts—contain an estimated 14.3 billion barrels of oil and 55 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Offshore drilling is vital to our country’s energy security and also supports more than 242,000 jobs across the country.
Despite the enormous economic and security benefits of offshore drilling, many offshore resources—including energy-rich areas like the Eastern Gulf and Arctic—remain off-limits or are subject to regulatory barriers. The moratorium instated after the tragic Deepwater Horizon incident resulted in slow rates of permitting that handicapped the industry and stalled America’s economic recovery. Alternatively, new studies show that aligning permitting rates with the industry’s capacity could generate $44 billion in U.S. GDP, reduce the amount we send to foreign governments by $15 million and create 190,000 new jobs by 2013.
Moreover, granting comprehensive access to U.S. oil and gas reserves could generate $4 trillion in state and federal revenue. Based on numbers from the Congressional Budget Office, that’s enough money to supply veterans’ benefits for 83 years, cover the cost of Social Security and Medicare payments for nearly 3 years and cover the cost of the entire defense budget for nearly six years.
The oil and natural gas industry remains committed to the safe and responsible development of our offshore resources. Following the Deepwater Horizon incident, the industry invested millions in well containment systems and the establishment of an Offshore Safety Center to ensure that our energy resources can be produced safely and reliably. Personnel training, safety standards and technological innovations each play a critical role in preventing future oil spills.
For more information see our Offshore Drilling Primer.