Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 10.58.53 AMCaller Times Corpus Christi | January 14, 2017 | Rob Saltiel

President Obama’s recent decisions to withdraw huge areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from future oil and gas leasing opportunities and to deny seismic survey permits in the Atlantic are not in keeping with his administration’s professed “all-of-the-above” approach to energy policy. That’s too bad, because we need policies that protect our energy security, grow our economy and provide well-paying jobs for our people.

Increasing access to our country’s offshore areas accomplishes all three of these objectives. Looking at the Atlantic seaboard alone, a 2013 study by Quest Offshore Resources found that oil and natural gas production there would create nearly 300,000 new jobs, add $24 billion to the overall U.S. economy, and contribute more than $50 billion in cumulative government revenue. Adding areas in the Arctic and Pacific oceans – as well as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico – would make these numbers even bigger.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, worldwide energy demand is expected to increase by as much as 48 percent by 2040, with fossil fuels supplying a full 80 percent of that demand.  Opening our oceans to oil and gas exploration and production isn’t just good for the United States. It helps developing nations around the world as well. We know that other countries are ramping up their own offshore energy exploration activities in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans in order to meet this future demand. The longer we wait, the harder it will be for us to catch up.

We can be encouraged by the fact that President-elect Trump has chosen former Texas Governor Rick Perry to be his Secretary of Energy. Here in the Lone Star State, we enjoy the benefits of offshore energy development and understand why it’s wrong to deny other states access to these same benefits.

Read the full op-ed here.

Rob Saltiel is President & CEO of Atwood Oceanics, Inc., an offshore drilling company headquartered in Houston.

National Ocean Industries Association
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