Monday, July 12, 2010

Oil Rigs Departing the Gulf as Obama Defies Court and Renews Offshore Drilling Ban

Bloomberg reports:

"U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar directed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement to issue new suspensions of deepwater drilling on the outer continental shelf, according to an e- mailed statement.

"Salazar said a pause is needed to ensure that oil and gas companies implement adequate safety measures to reduce the risks associated with deepwater drilling operations and are prepared for blowouts and oil spills."

Good luck figuring out the risks in your committee of partisan non-experts, Mr. President, not to mention how this oil spill occurred.

In the meantime, Diamond Offshore's Ocean Endeavor drilling rig became the first rig to depart the Gulf, and won't be the last. Once they leave, they won't be back for at least 5 to 10 years.

First rig sails away over drilling ban (7/9/2010 Houston Chronicle)

"WASHINGTON — Diamond Offshore announced Friday that its Ocean Endeavor drilling rig will leave the Gulf of Mexico and move to Egyptian waters immediately — making it the first to abandon the United States in the wake of the BP oil spill and a ban on deep-water drilling.

"And the Ocean Endeavor's exodus probably won't be the last, according to oil industry officials and Gulf Coast leaders who warn that other companies eager to find work for the now-idled rigs are considering moving them outside the U.S.

"Devon Energy Corp. had been leasing the Endeavor to drill in the same region of the Gulf as BP's leaking Macondo well, which has been gushing crude since a lethal blowout April 20.

"But Diamond announced Friday it will lease the rig through June 30, 2011, to Cairo-based Burullus Gas Co., which plans to send the Endeavor to Egyptian waters immediately.

"...It was unclear how many U.S. jobs could leave with the Ocean Endeavor, but typically more than 100 workers are on the rig at any given time, doing everything from drilling to cooking meals. Onshore, a network of businesses supplies the rigs with groceries, equipment, uniforms and drilling materials.

""It's not unusual for an energy service company to have 1,000 vendors that they buy from or purchase services from," noted Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands. As a result, Brady said, the economic damage from the moratorium stretches far and wide.

"...Although the administration on Thursday lost its second bid to keep the ban in place while it appeals a federal court's decision to strike down the moratorium, federal regulators plan to try again with a revised version soon.

"Dan Pickering, a financial analyst with Tudor, Pickering Holt & Co. Securities, said the legal uncertainties surrounding the ban - and the administration's plan to issue a new, revised moratorium - ensure that no companies will resume deep-water drilling in U.S. waters anytime soon.

"..."There are two types of rigs in the deep-water Gulf today: those that are leaving the country and those that want to, because with this moratorium hanging over their heads, they simply can't go back to work," Brady said. "I'm afraid this is the first of many rigs and many American jobs to leave the Gulf."

"Once the rigs relocate, it could be a minimum of five to 10 years before they return, predicted Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land." [Emphasis is mine. The entire article at the link above]

One of the last remaining good-paying jobs is thus leaving the US, thanks to the administration who claims it has created so many jobs despite the mess it inherited and wants to create more.

Once jobs leave the American shores, they don't come back. Manufacturing jobs have gone to China and creating more millionaires there than in Great Britain, high tech and software programming and call centers to India.

Fishing and tourism are bust in the Gulf states, thanks partly to the oil spill and partly to the federal government's obstructionism against the efforts by the affected state and local governments. If Obama's Pay Czar cum Oil Spill Escrow Fund Czar Kenneth Feinberg has his way (I don't see why he doesn't), cash-based fishermen won't get a dime, and tourism industry won't get a dime because vacationers are canceling their trips to the Gulf coast based on their "perception" of the oil spill, not based on actual oil blob on the beach they were planning to visit. So he cannot pay on such a subjective "perception", can he?

We'll see how BP's latest effort to cap the well finally succeeds, and if it changes the mind of the administration officials and the president about the drilling moratorium. I doubt it, but never say never.


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