IADC issued a news release on 14 July unequivocally opposing the 12 July suspension on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. This blanket, industrywide edict is contrary to precedent and abrogates lawful offshore leases.
“In issuing this new moratorium, the Department of the Interior has chosen to ignore volumes of evidence regarding the industry’s safe operating practices, as well as industry’s exhaustively produced recommendations – made at DOI’s request – for moving forward even more safely,” said IADC president Dr Lee Hunt.
IADC endorses the comments of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who warned in a 4 June op/ed of the dangers of overreaction: “Congress cannot afford to react to this disaster as we did following the meltdown at Three Mile Island, when the government unwisely halted all nuclear power plant construction for 30 years,” she wrote (http://landrieu.senate.gov/mediacenter/inthenews/06-04-2010-1.cfm).
The 12 July drilling suspension bars all drilling operations using subsea BOPs, as well as those using surface BOPs from floating facilities. Unlike the original moratorium, water depth is not referenced. A 22 June court ruling lifted the earlier moratorium. The current suspension will extend through 30 November, although DOI indicates that it could be lifted sooner.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar does not dispute that wells can be drilled safely using accepted industry practices augmented with strengthened requirements. The DOI’s concerns in the 12 July notice center on “blowout containment shortcomings” and “spill response capabilities that are strained by the BP oil spill.”
“Prevention is the key to safety in drilling, whether offshore or land,” Dr Hunt said. “The industry’s history of drilling 42,000 Gulf of Mexico wells over more than six decades prove that, when accepted practices are followed, the threat of spillage is minimal.”
Drilling could safely resume, he added, through non-hydrocarbon-bearing strata with virtually no risk.
The continued moratorium threatens to ship overseas a high-tech industry providing well-paying jobs to people residing across the US. An IADC study of 11,875 offshore workers placed these people in 296 Congressional Districts – 68% of total districts nationwide.
Further, companies across the nation provide goods and services for the offshore industry, as previously reported by IADC.
The continued moratorium will threaten the nation’s energy security by increasing imports. The US consumes more than 20 million bbls of oil each day yet produces less than half of that. Roughly half of US oil production comes from the Gulf of Mexico, 80% of that from deepwater. While production is allowed to continue under the new moratorium, the cutback in drilling and the exodus of quality rigs portend falling production in the future. Once rigs are working outside the US on long-term contracts, as is common practice, their return will be years away, if ever.
IADC also encouraged offshore producing companies to develop thorough plans for spill response and oil containment that will satisfy the Department of Interior and result in an rapid end to the moratorium.
Recent IADC News Releases and Documents
- News Release: IADC opposes job, industry-killing moratorium (PDF) – 14 July 2010
- IADC’s Written Statement to the Department of Energy National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, 12-13 July, Hilton New Orleans Riverside (PDF – 8MB) – 13 July 2010
- News Release: IADC testimony to National Commission urges speedy return to drilling – 13 July 2010
- IADC study: Offshore workers don’t just live along Gulf Coast – 12 July 2010
- US Offshore GOM Employees by Congressional District – Nationwide – 9 July 2010
- US Offshore GOM Employees by Congressional District – Gulf Coast, Southeast & Midwest – 9 July 2010
- IADC President Lee Hunt makes the case in USA Today for ending drilling ban – 8 July 2010
- Summary of 7 July IADC Town Hall Meeting - 7 July 2010
- News Release: IADC files amicus brief supporting resumption of deepwater drilling (PDF) – 6 July 2010
- IADC files friend of the court brief before US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to prevent reinstatement of deepwater drilling ban (PDF) – 2 July 2010
- List of upcoming Congressional town hall meetings in Oklahoma and Texas (PDF) – 1 July 2010
For current IADC news releases and documents, please visit the IADC Offshore GOM Reform website.