Newt Gingrich has stated that offshore drilling in South Carolina will help free the United States from its dependence of foreign oil. We as a country must do everything possible to decrease our dependence on Middle East oil. However, previous oil and gas exploration on the Atlantic Ocean Outer Continental Shelf suggests that there is low potential for future hydrocarbon discovery in this offshore area.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management summarizes Atlantic OCS oil and gas exploration on their website. There are 51 dry holes in the Atlantic OCS with no evidence of economic hydrocarbons. This suggests that there is a low potential of oil and gas offshore of South Carolina. There are no exploratory wells drilled in the South Carolina OCS, but there are seven dry holes in the Georgia OCS: (www.gomr.boemre.gov/homepg/offshore/atlocs/atl_south_well.pdf).
The Atlantic OCS is not considered a primary area for further oil and gas exploration based on the number of dry holes. Oil companies have tried 51 times to discover oil in the Atlantic OCS without success. They will be reluctant to attempt many more expensive wells in the Atlantic OCS – a deep-water Gulf of Mexico well costs about $200 million.
Our future toward energy independence must be a combination of more energy efficiency and new energy sources, but current data suggests the Atlantic OCS will not be a part of it.