The oil and natural gas industry supplies 60 percent of America’s energy needs, adds $2 trillion to the annual U.S. economy, and supports 9.8 million jobs. And opening up currently off-limits areas of the outer continental shelf (OCS) to sensible, environmentally responsible energy development could do even more. A 2011 study by Wood Mackenzie found that developing offshore oil and natural gas resources that are currently off-limits would increase domestic oil production by 4.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, support 420,000 new jobs, and generate $313 billion in state and federal government revenue.
Offshore drilling gives Americans another reason to feel confident about our path to energy independence. In addition to helping the economy, producing our own oil and natural gas means less reliance on unfriendly nations for our energy needs and reduces the risk of supply disruptions.
Offshore drilling is safer than ever. In 2010, the oil and natural gas industry created the Center for Offshore Safety (COS) to promote the highest safety standards for offshore drilling. Today, these standards are enforced through intensive training, cooperation between offshore operators and government agencies, and frequent safety drills and government inspections. It’s been such a success that government agencies have adopted COS guidelines into their own practices and federal regulations.