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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said Tuesday that he will extend a longstanding ban on offshore drilling off the coast of Florida, a critical 2020 swing state, and expand it to Georgia and South Carolina.

Why it matters: The announcement would further seal off the eastern Gulf of Mexico, a region long-coveted by oil companies.

Where it stands: Much of the eastern Gulf is protected from development only through 2022 under a 2006 law that expanded access in some areas and created a program for nearby states to share revenue from leasing and royalties.

  • Trump's presidential memorandum puts the areas off-limits through mid-2032.
  • Most offshore U.S. oil-and-gas production comes from the central and western Gulf.

The intrigue: The amount of industry interest in unexplored regions going forward is less certain amid low energy prices that may persist for a long time, and the pandemic's potentially long-lasting effects on demand.

  • That said, the area's proximity to the existing Gulf offshore industry and infrastructure would have been a plus for the sector.
  • One unnamed industry official told Politico that today's move was a "complete ambush."

Flashback: Then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in 2018 that his agency, which regulates offshore drilling, planned to remove areas around Florida from areas it had initially proposed make available for oil-and-gas leasing in the years ahead.

  • Today's move goes further by also sealing off areas further up the Atlantic coast, which are no longer covered by formal, congressionally mandated bans but have not yet been leased.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Aug 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Coronavirus hastens Big Oil's Atlantic divide on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The pandemic is accelerating a divide between European and American oil companies over climate change and clean energy.

Why it matters: Bottom lines and investor returns will be vastly different across the corporate spectrum depending on how aggressively the world tackles climate change in the coming decades.

Dec 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

New Mexicans could test Biden's drilling pledge

Joe Biden. Photo: Jim Watson / Getty Images

President-elect Biden is considering two New Mexicans to be Interior secretary, which could provide an early test to his promise to end new energy drilling on federal land.

Why it matters: New Mexico is a Democratic state where oil and gas production is crucial to the local economy, and the next Interior secretary — with both retiring Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Deb Haaland in the running — will be charged with implementing Biden’s proposed ban.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Mar 13, 2019 - Energy & Environment

The age of American oil

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The U.S. has taken the global oil market by storm — becoming the world's largest oil producer in 2018 and on track to surpass Russia and perhaps even Saudi Arabia to become the world's top exporter by 2024.

Why it matters: Thanks to the end of a 40-year-old crude oil export ban signed by President Obama, a shale boom and a host of geopolitical sea changes, the U.S. is poised to reshape the global oil market over the next 10 years and beyond.