"Oil and natural gas production off our Atlantic coast is a potential gold mine," Milito, the API's director of upstream operations, said in a statement Thursday.
"Developing oil and natural gas in the Atlantic could put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work, make us more energy secure, and bring in needed revenue for the government."
A 125-page report prepared for API, an industry trade group, by Quest Offshore Resources Inc. says oil and gas exploration on the U.S. Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf could generate $51 billion in new revenue for the federal government. The oil and gas potential in the region, the report said, is more than half of what energy companies are now producing from the Gulf of Mexico.
In October, Tommy Beaudreau, director of the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said his agency should have enough information on hand to consider the area in a five-year lease plan beginning in 2017.
Milito said the federal government should follow "pro-development energy policies" to realize the full potential of domestic oil and natural gas reserves.