From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, February 27, 2014 – A soon-to-be released report from the Department of the Interior could move the government closer to allowing new seismic surveys to explore for oil and natural gas in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito told reporters on a conference call today:

“The Department of the Interior is about to take a critical step impacting American energy production, job creation and energy security in the years ahead.

“Seismic surveys are an advanced exploration technique used to locate potential oil and natural gas reserves. A positive environmental impact statement, or EIS, would move the government closer to allowing new exploration for oil and natural gas in the Atlantic.

“The energy we have today results from plans set in motion years ago. To continue America’s energy renaissance in the future, we must explore and plan for the future now.

“According to the study conducted by Quest Offshore Resources, oil and natural gas development in the Atlantic OCS between 2017 and 2035 could create nearly 280,000 new jobs along the East Coast and across the country.

“By permitting seismic surveys in the Atlantic and including Atlantic lease sales in the next five-year leasing plan, the Obama administration can build a long-term path to new jobs for American workers, new revenue for the government, and greater energy security for all of us.”

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 580 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.