Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) will introduce an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2007 Interior Appropriations Bill today that will allow the United States to lessen our dependence on foreign crude oil and natural gas by expanding domestic off shore drilling. The Gulf of Mexico is responsible for roughly 30 percent of the oil and 20 percent of natural gas production for the United States. However, parts of the Gulf and most of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) are off limits to further energy exploration.

It is time we revisit this outdated policy in this current energy environment, said Poe. My amendment would allow for more oil and natural gas exploration along the OCS; continuing the success of drilling in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico. This would allow for renewed oil and natural gas production from our oceans and lessen the stranglehold foreign oil rich nations and OPEC have on the American consumer.

The current moratorium on OCS drilling limits offshore oil and natural gas exploration to the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico and parts of Northern Alaska. This moratorium places 90 percent of the OCS acreage off limits to energy development in the lower 48 states.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, there are approximately 300 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas and more than 50 billion barrels of oil yet to be discovered in the lower 48 OCS. That is enough oil or natural gas to:
  • Maintain current oil production for 87 years and current natural gas production for 68 years
  • Produce gasoline for 116 million cars and heating oil for 47 million homes for 15 years
  • Replace current imports from the Persian Gulf for 59 years
  • Produce sufficient natural gas to heat 75 million homes for 60 years
  • Supply current industrial and commercial needs for 29 years or supply electricity generating needs for 55 years
With demand for oil and natural gas increasing, it is imperative that we increase our domestic production to meet our growing demands and bring more supply into the market to lower prices.