March 1 (UPI) -- Despite general White House support for the oil and gas sector, a trade group said more than 90 percent of the reserves offshore remain off limits to producers.
"We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines," he said. "And I've issued a new directive that new American pipelines be made with American steel."
Trump has already signed executive measures that called for a fast-track approval process for pipelines that would feed U.S. export hubs on the southern coast. Both pipelines stalled under Trump's predecessor.
Randall Luthi, the president of the National Ocean Industries Association, praised the president for his ambitious agenda on U.S. oil and natural gas. A robust U.S. energy industry, Luthi said, would create "thousands" of potential new jobs while at the same time generating "billions" of dollars of new government revenue.
"However, there is much work to be done, and undone, before we can unlock our offshore resource," he said in a statement. "Due to federal actions of the past eight years, nearly 94 percent of our nation's offshore resources are off limits to oil and gas exploration and development."
As part of a joint move in December with the Canadian government, U.S. President Barack Obama used his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to ban oil and gas work in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off the coast of Alaska, as well as Atlantic coast areas.
A report from the federal U.S. government said Arctic basins in particular may be attractive to explorers. Those basins hold about 22 percent of the world's undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resources, though developing them is costly to the point that work is prohibitive.
Federal U.S. estimates find total oil production from the Gulf of Mexico, meanwhile, is expected at 1.63 million barrels per day this year, down 100,000 bpd from previous estimates. Next year, production grows to 1.77 million bpd, lower than previous estimates by 90,000 bpd.
From the environmental side of the energy debate, Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard said Trump was threatening the rights of indigenous Americans and clean water with his approval for Dakota Access, a pipeline that was the target of months of protests in North Dakota.
"Trump claimed tonight that he wants to help communities in the United States, but what he won't acknowledge is how his policies and his words are already having a devastating impact," she said in a statement.
Overall, the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas trade group, said the U.S. energy sector supports three times as many jobs as renewable energy. By her records, Abigail Ross-Hopper, the CEO and president of the Solar Energy Industries Association and former U.S. federal offshore regulator, one out of every 50 new jobs created in the United States last year came from solar energy industries.