Speaking just a day after the government issued new suspensions on Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling, 2010 IADC chairman Louis Raspino urged attendees at the IADC Lifting & Mechanical Handling Conference on 13 July in Houston to individually write to their congressional representatives to make sure they understand the jobs and economic impact at stake.
On an industry level, IADC is “putting in a Herculean effort to make sure that our views are being heard in Washington,” said Mr Raspino of Pride International. “We’re trying to make sure that people in Washington understand that you can’t shut down an entire industry that is vital to the US economy and vital to US national security.”
It’s hard to find an example of a government action comparable to its reaction to the Macondo spill. When industrial accidents occur in other industries, it is extremely rare for the entire sector to be shut down.
However, with offshore drilling and with an administration in the White House that has made no secret of its preference for green energy over fossil fuels, politics have overtaken reason, Mr Raspino said. “Fossil fuel powers this world. It powers our transportation systems, our industrial systems. In my lifetime, in your lifetime and probably for the next several generations, it’s going to be as important as it is today. We can’t wish it away,” he said.
For the drilling industry, the potential impact of a six-month (or longer) ban on deepwater drilling would be catastrophic. Especially for the smaller companies that support the industry’s larger players, they won’t be able to survive in this climate of uncertainty. “We can’t hit the pause button on an industry for six months and expect everything to be there when you let it go… We’re not going to be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again,” Mr Raspino said.