In countries like the US, Germany and Australia that have a federal system of government, is offshore natural resources such as Oil and Gas owned by the states or the federal government?

  • 1
    Any reason to think it's different offshore vs. onshore?
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 10:19
  • 1
    I think we need to draw a distinction between "control" and "ownership". In some countries (like Norway, Mexico, etc.), oil companies are state-owned enterprises, whereas in other counties (like the United States, Canada, etc.) oil companies are privately owned. So your question would be about who exercises regulatory authority in those cases.
    – Wes Sayeed
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


In Australia, states control operations up to 3 miles from the coast, and the federal government beyond that. Source: Geoscience Australia website: http://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/energy/legislation/offshore-legislation

In the US it is similar, according to Wikipedia, with states controlling up to 3 miles from the coast and federal government beyond (this is a result of the 1953 Submerged Land Act): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offshore_oil_and_gas_in_the_United_States

This is only a partial answer but I'm sure you could find information on other countries with a bit of Googling.

  • 1
    For example, Switzerland to this day does not have a law regarding this issue because it's a Land-Locked Country and doesn't need to worry about territorial waters (It's lakes are presumably managed by the Cantons they reside in and are protected militarily by the Swiss Militia).
    – hszmv
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 19:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .