BRADENTON, Fla. — Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell renewed his quest for the state to be included in the next offshore oil and gas leasing plan following the Dec. 5 release of a study projecting new economic benefits.
Virginia could see 25,000 new jobs and reap $1.9 billion in new revenue for state government, according to the study about the benefits of opening the U.S. Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf to offshore oil and natural gas development sponsored by the National Ocean Industries Association and the American Petroleum Institute.
The report also indicates that development of the continental shelf off Virginia will bring as much as $400 million a year in marine activity at the Port of Virginia by 2035, and more than $14 billion in industrial spending in the state from 2017 to 2035.
"Throughout our administration we have been strong supporters of a truly 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy incorporating all of our domestic resources, from wind to solar to coal to nuclear to oil to natural gas," McDonnell said. "We need to develop the energy resources we possess here at home — that is how we will create new jobs, grow our economy, and continue to help our nation move towards greater energy independence."
The new study is "further proof" of what a comprehensive approach to energy issues could produce in terms of thousands of new jobs, billions in new revenue, and a stronger economy, he said.
"It is time that we moved forward to responsibly develop Virginia's offshore energy resources: wind, oil, and natural gas," said McDonnell.
In March 2010, the federal government awarded an oil and gas lease off Virginia but later cancelled the sale and did not include the state in the current five-year OCS plan. The next plan is scheduled for 2017-2022.
State officials said they are asking the Interior Department to prepare now for the next five-year plan, and to include a sale off Virginia.
The National Ocean Industries Association and the American Petroleum Institute study said Virginia as well as North and South Carolina stand to see the largest employment impact from Atlantic OCS oil and natural gas activity.