US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to expand offshore oil and gas drilling to areas that have been off limits.

The new executive order means that areas in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans along with the US Gulf of Mexico could be opened up for drilling, reported the Reuters.

Former President Barack Obama had to pursue protection of the same swathes after a massive oil spill caused by BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.  

The US President said that increased energy production of federal lands and waters boosts the security and decreases dependence on imported energy.

Trump added: “Moreover, low energy prices, driven by an increased American energy supply, will benefit American families and help reinvigorate American manufacturing and job growth. 

“Finally, because the Department of Defense is one of the largest consumers of energy in the United States, domestic energy production also improves our Nation's military readiness.”

Trump’s new order asks for a review and replacement of the Obama administration’s last five-year oil and gas development for the outer continental shelf to be reviewed and replaced. The executive order includes federal waters of all coasts of the country.

Just prior to his exit, Obama had imposed a ban on new oil and gas drilling activities in federal waters in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

According to Alaska Wilderness League interim executive director Kristen Miller, the Article is fragile and remote with not much of infrastructure with the nearest Coast Guard thousand miles away making drilling in the area irresponsible.

Miller added: “President Trump may try to roll back presidential withdrawals from the last administration and open new areas to drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans despite millions of Americans asking for the Arctic and Atlantic to be protected.

“President Trump and his administration are marching us down an unprecedented path – filled with conflict and risk.”

Image: Trump signs order for expansion of US offshore oil and gas drilling. Photo: courtesy of num_skyman/