The Atlantic represents a major part of the future of American offshore energy production. Closed for years to energy development, Atlantic coast communities have not had the economic opportunity afforded communities in the Gulf Coast. And America has been foregoing what could be one of our largest energy resources.

In 2016, a decision by Washington locked up the region’s conventional resources through 2022, to the detriment of the previously proposed Mid/South Atlantic leasing area, adjacent states like Florida, and the nation at large. However, January 2018, under new leadership, the Interior Department announced the development of a new offshore leasing program that could include new areas such as the Atlantic.

Learn more about the energy that lies off the Atlantic coast, how it could transform our economy and our national security.

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Based on decades-old data, the Mid and South Atlantic regions could hold as much as 7.52 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or enough to meet the oil and gas needs of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia for years to come!

New Atlantic seismic studies are needed to allow government, industry, and others to make better-informed decisions and facilitate more environmentally and economically effective activity should leasing ultimately occur. There are currently six Atlantic seismic survey applications pending with the Interior Department.  If granted, the surveys would be subject to a series of protective measures, with surveys only allowed upon determinations that they would have negligible impact and no adverse effects on marine mammal species or stocks.  Following new seismic studies using updated technology in the Gulf of Mexico, oil resource estimates rose 500%!  Despite claims by anti-energy activists, seismic studies are a safe and proven practice.

…there has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in geological and geophysical (G&G) seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities.

– Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Chief Environmental Officer William Y. Brown


Economic impact studies have shown that Atlantic offshore energy development could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, billions in economic activity, and billions in new government revenue.  Developing the Atlantic could create 280,000 jobs, contribute up to $23.5 billion to the economy annually, and add $51 billion in new government revenue across the U.S.


Developing these resources will have many benefits to our nation, including helping to meet future U.S. energy needs, improving our energy security, and increasing employment. Virginia stands ready to be a great partner in supporting development of this new industry and bringing new jobs to the east coast.

– Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe(SOURCE)


Atlantic-wide offshore oil and gas development could reduce our dependence on imports from the Persian Gulf by 86% through the addition of 1.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day to our domestic energy supply.

Atlantic production could offset much of the energy we import from unfriendly Gulf nations if allowed to proceed.  Atlantic development requires long lead times, making the decision to exclude the Atlantic from leasing for another 5 years dangerous at best. Without Mid- and South Atlantic leasing, the Interior Department estimates America would have to import nearly 60% of the foregone production with environmental and social costs of up to $3 billion. 

I would rather us — with all the safeguards and standards that we have — be producing our oil and gas, rather than importing it, which is bad for our people, but is also potentially purchased from places that have much lower environmental standards than we do…

– President Barack Obama (SOURCE)


In recent years, regulators and industry alike have taken unprecedented steps to further increase safety and environmental protections, including the following actions:

  • Over 100 new exploration and production standards
  • New well design and casing standards
  • New safety and environmental management systems rule
  • New blowout preventer requirements
  • Increased inspection and engineering workforce
  • Strengthened inspection and engineering workforce
  • New Ocean Energy Safety Institute and Center for Offshore Safety

The Department of the Interior has implemented the most aggressive and comprehensive offshore oil and gas regulatory reforms in the nation’s history.

– Interior Sec. Sally Jewell (SOURCE)


Wind energy is an important part of future offshore energy production in the Southeast.  In 2013, a federal lease was sold to develop a 112,000 acre block nearly 24 miles off Virginia Beach and is expected to support over 2,000 megawatts of electricity- enough to power 700,000 homes.  It is estimated that moderate development of offshore wind in the Southeast (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia) could support:

  • An annual average of ~5,500 additional jobs per year from 2020 to 2030
  • $370 million in annual average direct economic growth from 2020 to 2030

Embracing offshore energy development of all types could provide a significant new source of funding for activities ranging from infrastructure improvements to environmental restoration and beyond.



Now is the time to speak up for developing our resources in the Atlantic.

Families and businesses across the United States, especially individuals on fixed and low income and small businesses, depend on affordable, reliable energy to make ends meet and support their families and employees. Furthermore, increasing opportunities to develop our own resources here at home will provide economic growth that will help our children and grandchildren.

Studies have shown that expanded development could support more than 560,000 jobs and over $314 billion in cumulative government revenue. At the same time, by developing energy here in America under our stringent regulatory standards, we will help safeguard our environment.

To meet America’s growing and long-term energy needs, it is vital to keep significant offshore opportunities in place.