Offshore Drilling On The US Atlantic Coast

Offshore drilling on the US Atlantic coast for oil and gas took place from 1947 to the early 1980s. Oil companies drilled 5 wells in Atlantic Florida state waters and 51 exploratory wells on federal leases on the outer continental shelf of the Atlantic coast. None of the wells were completed as producing wells. All the leases have now reverted to the government.

Although no oil or gas have been produced from beneath US Atlantic waters, there are active offshore fields to the south in offshore Cuba and to the north in offshore Canada.

Each coastal state along the Atlantic coast owns the territory extending three nautical miles (3.45 statute, or land miles) from the shore at mean low tide, and has jurisdiction to decide whether or not, and under what terms, to lease the territory for oil and gas. The federal government owns and controls the minerals between three and 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the shore.

In accordance with congressional restrictions and presidential orders, no federal leasing has taken place on the offshore US Atlantic coast since the early 1980s. The federal government had scheduled a lease sale offshore Virginia, to take place in 2011, and in March 2010, US President Barack Obama announced his intention to open the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic planning areas to oil and gas exploration. However, lease sale plans were cancelled in May 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In December 2010, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a ban on drilling in federal waters off the Atlantic coast through 2017.

Read more about Offshore Drilling On The US Atlantic CoastReserves, Straits of Florida, Southern Atlantic Coast, Middle Atlantic Coast, North Atlantic Coast, Future Lease Sales, See Also

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