The Obama administration is opening the eastern seaboard for offshore oil and gas exploration, the AP reports.

The announcement, made last Friday, allows companies to conduct seismic surveys with sonic cannons of the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida.

Energy companies will be able to apply for licenses to drill in the newly opened area in 2018.

The U.S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates that there are 4.72 billion barrels of oil and 37.51 trillion cu. feet of natural gas in the Atlantic coast’s outer continental shelf.

The AP said areas from New Jersey through New England remain closed to exploration and drilling.

The American Petroleum Institute has said that offshore drilling on the Atlantic coast could contribute about $200 billion to the nation’s GDP from 2017 to 2035 and generate about $51 billion in revenues for the federal and state governments.


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