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USA: Oil Companies Protest Presidential Ban on Drilling in Gulf

Today, the National Ocean Industries Association hit out at the Presidential moratorium on exploratory drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet in the Gulf of Mexico.

Burt Adams, Chairman of the National Ocean Industries Association, which represents 35 off-shore energy companies, said in a statement:

“The immediate impacts of the order will be felt by the families of tens of thousands of offshore workers who will be unemployed.

At a time when the spill is already causing economic stress for key industries in the region, the president’s action will make things much worse by putting more Gulf citizens out of work”

Adams called for a compromise to increase inspection and re-certification, rather than halting all work in the deeper Gulf, citing figures from the  Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. The NOIA published the preliminary results of the LMOGA findings:

“For each platform idled by the work stoppage, up to 1,400 jobs are at risk, and lost wages could reach $10 million per month per platform and up to $330 million per month for all 33 platforms

The six-month halt would defer four percent of anticipated 2011 deepwater Gulf of Mexico production (80,000 barrels per day), and likely render seven current discoveries sub-economic, putting $7.6 billion in future government revenues at risk. Additionally, drilling rigs idled by the order will be contracted overseas, and will not be available to work in the Gulf once the halt is lifted, making the U.S. even more dependent on foreign oil.”

On May 27th, President Obama announced a moratorium on deepwater drilling for six months after considering the results of a safety and environmental review:

“First, we will suspend the planned exploration of two locations off the coast of Alaska. Second, we will cancel the pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and the proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia. Third, we will continue the existing moratorium and suspend the issuance of new permits to drill new deepwater wells for six months. And four, we will suspend action on 33 deepwater exploratory wells currently being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The President blamed a “a scandalously close relationship between oil companies and the agency that regulates them” for the need to temporarily halt drilling and improve the measures designed to maintain close check on safety and feasibility.

President Obama with former Senator Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly who will serve as co-chairs of the bi-partisan BP Oil Spill Commission.

About News Desk

News Desk
Editors and staff from the News Desk at The Global Herald.

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