Outer Continental Shelf

The Federal Government administers the submerged lands, subsoil, and seabed, lying between the seaward extent of the States' jurisdiction and the seaward extent of Federal jurisdiction.

State jurisdiction is defined as follows:

  • Texas and the Gulf coast of Florida are extended 3 marine leagues (9 nautical miles) seaward from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.
  • Louisiana is extended 3 imperial nautical miles (imperial nautical mile = 6080.2 feet) seaward of the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.
  • All other States' seaward limits are extended 3 nautical miles (approximately 3.3 statute miles) seaward of the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

 producing offshore API

Federal jurisdiction is defined under accepted principles of international law. The seaward limit is defined as the farthest of 200 nautical miles seaward of the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured or, if the continental shelf can be shown to exceed 200 nautical miles, a distance not greater than a line 100 nautical miles from the 2,500-meter isobath or a line 350 nautical miles from the baseline.

Outer Continental Shelf limits greater than 200 nautical miles but less than either the 2,500 meter isobath plus 100 nautical miles or 350 nautical miles are defined by a line 60 nautical miles seaward of the foot of the continental slope or by a line seaward of the foot of the continental slope connecting points where the sediment thickness divided by the distance to the foot of the slope equals 0.01, whichever is farthest.