The Department of the Interior granted conditional approval to a plan by Shell Gulf of Mexico to begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic Ocean. Federally owned offshore oil and natural gas reserves of the United States are estimated to hold over 50 billion barrels of crude oil 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, close to 87 percent of federal offshore acreage is off limits to energy exploration and development. Without energy exploration to give a more accurate estimation of energy reserves, the closed off area could hold far more oil and natural gas reserves.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s offshore oil and natural gas leasing plan for 2017-2022 excludes promising areas in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Expanding offshore access would:
- Create nearly 840,000 new American jobs.
- Increase oil production by 3.5 million barrels per day.
- Generate $200 billion cumulative revenue for the U.S. government.
- Add $450 billion in private sector spending.
- Add $70 billion per year to the U.S. economy.
The United States is now producing the most oil in the world and can continue to do so if more pro-energy policies, such as opening all federally owned offshore areas, are adopted by the federal government.