Offshore Access

Offshore Access

Public Policy Priority: Offshore Access

OCS Leasing Will Provide Continued Energy Security


The U.S. OCS is estimated to hold 90 billion barrels of oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of gas.


The proposed National OCS Program for 2019-2024 will significantly increase access to critical OCS resources, advancing American energy dominance.


Increased offshore drilling could create thousands of U.S. jobs.

The U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is estimated to contain some of the greatest quantities of undiscovered oil and natural gas resources. The Department of the Interior (DOI) estimates undiscovered, technically recoverable OCS resources to be 90 billion barrels of oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of gas. Developing these resources will be vital to advancing the U.S. energy renaissance, growing the economy, and reducing government deficits.

DOI recently released the draft National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024. The draft National OCS Program proposes to make more than 90 percent of the OCS acreage available to consider for future exploration and development. Release of the draft National OCS Program is an early step in a multi-year process to develop a final OCS leasing program.

Comprehensive studies by Quest Offshore Resources, Inc. indicate oil and natural gas OCS leasing efforts in the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico (EGOM) could increase U.S. energy production by 3.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2035. In addition, the leasing program could create more than 800,000 American jobs, spur nearly $450 billion in private sector spending, and generate more than $200 billion in revenue for federal and state governments.

The EGOM is a critical component of the National OCS Program. At present, the EGOM is subject to a statutory moratorium which is set to expire in 2022. Development of EGOM resources could generate more than 200,000 American jobs and $70 billion in government revenue by 2035.

As DOI moves forward with the development of the National OCS Program it will conduct environmental assessments and engage stakeholder to provide for a comprehensive, deliberative and inclusive analysis of any potential lease area.


  • Access to and responsible development of U.S. offshore energy resources is vital to a robust, forward-looking energy policy that will help secure the nation’s energy supply and economic prosperity.
  • Energy Workforce supports the comprehensive approach (47 potential lease sales) in the draft National OCS Program, particularly the inclusion of the EGOM.


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