U.S. President George Bush is to announce Monday that he is lifting an executive ban on offshore oil drilling.

In the statement at the White House, Mr. Bush is to urge lawmakers to lift their ban on offshore drilling.  Lawmakers would have to lift the legislative ban before any new drilling would be allowed.

Mr. Bush has said experts believe that drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf could produce enough oil to match the current production in the United States for almost a decade.  He has said technological advances since the Congressional restrictions were put in place in the 1980s now allow exploration in ways that protect the environment.

But Democrats, who represent the majority in Congress, argue that oil companies are not taking advantage of more than 27 million hectares of federal land where they already have the right to explore.