Offshore Energy

North Carolina’s offshore oil and natural gas resources can increase energy security and drive new jobs.  These resources can also add billions of dollars in revenue to fund schools, roads and other much-needed services.

Looking out along the North Carolina coastline, one sees endless waves.  The ocean waters hold a rich treasure which can help ensure America’s energy security.  The oil and natural gas in the 7.2 million acres off the coastline of North Carolina could create thousands of new jobs and add billions to state and federal coffers. 

One-page: North Carolina Benefeits of U.S. Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Development in the Atlantic. 

But none of these benefits will appear unless the federal government follows pro-development energy policies. This area is currently off-limits in the government's existing 5-year leasing plan (2012-2017) and it is not yet decided what might be included in their next 5-Year plan (the new draft 5-year plan, for 2017-2022, is taking public comments). 

How much potential do these offshore resources hold?  The government estimates that the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) holds 4.7 billion barrels of oil and 37 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  While a huge number, that estimate was formed using 30-year old survey technology which is now out of date.  Old technology often proves to be conservative using modern methods of measurement and drilling.  

For example, in 1987 the Mineral Management Service (now BOEM) estimated 9 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, but that estimate rose to 48 billion in 2011 when more recent seismic and drilling technologies were applied - a five-fold increase over prior estimate.  

Jobs on the Shores of North Carolina

The oil and natural gas industry today supports more than 146,000 jobs in North Carolina, adding almost $12.5 billion to North Carolina’s gross state product, or 3% of its wealth.  And North Carolina doesn't even produce its own oil or natural gas - these jobs are ones that are generated in "support" of the oil and natural gas industry.

Development of our state's own oil and natural gas resources off the coastline would result in tens of thousands of new well-paying jobs for North Carolinians, add investments to the state, and potentially millions in state revenue.  It would also help reduce our dependence on oil from nations who do not share our values or our interests and keep America on the pathway to being, and remaining, an energy superpower.

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