Oil and gas industry are strong proponents of U.S ratification of UNCLOS
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The Foreign Relations Committee heard testimony by Paul Kelly, on behalf of petroleum and other industrial associations, advocating Treaty accession as a means of facilitating energy development on the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. While the Convention allows for continental shelf claims to 350 miles and in some cases even beyond this, as a non–state party, the United States has no treaty-based means of making such a claim. Kelly painted a picture of an energy industry ready, willing, and able to move oil and gas extraction production into deepwater areas beyond 200 nautical miles of the United States. Citing technology that now allows for oil and gas development in water depths approaching two kilometers, Kelly pointed out that “U.S. companies are interested in setting international precedents by being the first to operate in areas beyond 200 miles and to continue demonstrating environmentally sound drilling and production technologies.” " While Kelly touted the ambitious and environmentally sound plans of industry, the environmental community had its own advocate citing the myriad reasons for Treaty accession. "
Offshore operations are capital-intensive, requiring significant financing and insurance. Oil and natural gas companies do not want to undertake these massive expenditures if their lease sites may be subject to territorial dispute. They operate transnationally, and need to know that the title to the petroleum resources will be respected worldwide and not just in the United States.