Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activities in the Mid-Atlantic and their onshore impacts: a summary report, November 1979

Open-File Report 80-17
Prepared in cooperation with the Council on Environmental Quality
By:  and 



Outer continental shelf (OCS) activity in the Mid-Atlantic Region to date has been limited to exploratory drilling. The first rig began drilling in March 1978. More rigs quickly moved into the Region, and as many as nine were working at the same time for a brief period in January 1979. As of November 1979, nineteen exploratory wells and two stratigraphic test wells had been drilled by the oil companies. One of these test wells and three exploratory wells have had shows of natural gas, but none of the oil companies has yet announced that it has found enough gas to go forward with plans for production. Because of the somewhat disappointing results so far, exploratory drilling has declined. Only one company is currently operating a rig, and one other company has announced plans to begin drilling this winter.

The most recent risked estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey of undiscovered, economically recoverable oil and gas resources in the Mid-Atlantic tracts currently under lease are 8 million barrels of oil and 860 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The resource estimate for oil does not represent a commercially producible quantity. On the basis of the geologic information gained from wells completed to date and the huge capital costs of building a pipeline to bring the gas ashore, the natural gas estimate for currently leased tracts in the Mid-Atlantic Region appears to be short of a commercially producible amount.

To date, onshore impacts resulting from OCS exploration consist of two support bases: a helicopter base in Atlantic City, New Jersey, from which crews are flown out to the drilling rigs; and a support base in Davisville, Rhode Island, from which equipment and supplies are ferried out to the rigs by boat. It is expected that exploratory activity will remain close to present levels for at least the next six months; consequently, support activity at Davisville and Atlantic City for Mid-Atlantic OCS operations during the same period is expected to correspond to current levels.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activities in the Mid-Atlantic and their onshore impacts: a summary report, November 1979
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 80-17
DOI 10.3133/ofr8017_1980
Year Published 1980
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description viii, 63 p.
Country United States
State New Jersey;Rhode Island
City Atlantic City;Davisville
Other Geospatial Outer Continental Shelf
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