Published: August 5, 2013
By Steve Jones —

MYRTLE BEACH — The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates there is about 3.3 billion barrels of oil and 31.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the East Coast from Maryland to north Florida, but Rayola Dougher wouldn’t be surprised if that 30-year-old figure is significantly low.

Dougher, senior economics advisor for the American Petroleum Institute, said it stands to reason the BOEM’s estimate would be low based on what’s happened to estimates of the amount of oil in North Dakota shale deposits and the Gulf of Mexico. A 1987 estimate put 9 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf, a projection that now stands at 48 billion barrels.

What that means to South Carolina is that there could be significantly more oil and natural gas offshore than an estimate that says the state could produce 52 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in 30 years, if work began today to extract it. Oil equivalent includes both petroleum and natural gas production and estimates for each aren’t given in the study done for the API.

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