The Obama administration has announced its five-year offshore drilling plan, which includes emphasis on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Alaska.

The sun may be rising on the offshore oil industry again.  Less than two years after the BP oil disaster, the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program will make more than 75 percent of all undiscovered oil and gas resources available for exploration and development.

Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar praises the program as an important step toward economic recovery.  "Expanding safe and responsible oil and gas production from the program is a key component of our comprehensive energy strategy to grow America's energy economy, and will help us continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs here at home."

Republicans in Congress generally like the plan, but Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, says it doesn't go far enough. "The Obama administration's draft plan places some of the most promising energy resources in the world off-limits," Hastings said.

Environmental activists don't like it. They say the proposal is short on proper safety protocols.  They also complain that now is not the time to open vulnerable environmental areas to energy production.

via Obama To Expand Drilling Off Alaska, In Gulf.

Regardless of how many offshore wells get going again, this is good news for people who make their living working on the rigs.  At some point in the near future, offshore production companies will start hiring again.