The Motley Fool “Should We Drill Off of the Atlantic Coast?”

By Matthew DiLallo

December 6, 2013

There could be as much as 10 billion barrels of oil and gas off of America's Atlantic coast. But according to former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, "We really don't know a lot about what's down there." In fact, he admits, "It may be nothing, it may be a lot."

Therein lies America's dilemma: Should or shouldn't we search for oil off our Atlantic coast?

According to a new report on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, if there is as much oil as we think then the economic activity required to develop it would be quite substantial. The report, prepared for the American Petroleum Institute and the National Ocean Industries Association, projects that from 2017 to 2035 oil and gas activity off the Atlantic coast could contribute $23.5 billion per year to the U.S. economy. Further, it would create nearly 280,000 jobs as well as add a cumulative total of $51 billion to the government's coffers from royalties and leases.

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