Offshore Oil and Gas

An oil rig off the coast of Louisiana. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News)

Offshore drilling is a mechanical process in which a wellbore is drilled below the seabed. It is typically carried out in order to explore for and subsequently extract petroleum which lies in rock formations beneath the seabed. Although a large portion of the nation’s oil and gas supply is provided by offshore drilling, expansion into areas outside of currently active sites off Alaska, southern California, Louisiana, and Texas has proven to be contentious. In 2018, New Jersey enacted a law to ban oil and gas drilling in state waters and prohibit construction of oil and gas drilling infrastructure and facilities including pipelines and docks in New Jersey and its waters in an effort to cut off infrastructure to make it harder to drill in federal waters. That same year, New York, California, South Carolina and Rhode Island introduced similar bills in their states. Georgia’s House passed a resolution opposing seismic testing and oil drilling activities off of Georgia’s coast in 2019, and a similar resolution is before the Senate this session.

Below are publications and resources meant to provide information about offshore drilling and its possible environmental and economic impacts on the southeast.

Publications

TitleDescriptionYear
The soundscape of the Anthropocene oceanThe authors review how the changing ocean soundscape of the Anthropocene affects marine life by first summarizing current understanding of the importance of sound to marine animals and the components and ecological relevance of undisturbed ocean soundscapes. They show how ocean soundscapes are changing and use a systematic review of four decades of published research to assess the evidence for the resulting impacts on marine animals. We then discuss how available solutions may help mitigate impacts on marine animals.2021
In the Oceans, the Volume Is Rising as Never BeforeA new review of the scientific literature confirms that anthropogenic noise is becoming unbearable for undersea life.2021
Effects of Seismic Surveys on Marine OrganismsThe purpose of this GCRC report is to review and summarize research conducted since 2014. It is primarily focused on marine organisms (zooplankton, fishes, sea turtles, and whales) found off the Georgia coast. However, GCRC also included relevant studies of nonindigenous species, as in many cases information on native species was not available.2020
Fact Sheet on Offshore Oil DrillingThis fact sheet is intended to outline potential impacts of offshore oil drilling, and dispel myths that have been put forth by oil drilling proponents. 2018

Resources

TitleDescriptionYear
Georgia Senate Resolution 88 This is a resolution before the Georgia Senate in support of Georgia's coastal tourism and fisheries and opposing seismic testing and oil drilling activities off of Georgia's coast.2020
NEPA Redo Would Speed Drilling ApprovalThis article by the Coastal Review Online discusses the effect changes to NEPA proposed by the Trump administration could have on the North Carolina coastal permitting process. 2020