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IADC submits comments outlining ways to spur US energy production in response to US House field hearing 

In September, the US House Committee on Natural Resources hosted a field hearing in New Orleans. IADC attended the meeting, “The Impacts of Federal Policies on Energy Production and Economic Growth in the Gulf,” and later submitted comments to the record which outlined changes to existing law that could help spur safer energy production in the US.

IADC’s comments cite the need for predictable and clear laws and regulations that give drilling contractors the confidence to make business decisions knowing what the regulatory outlook is on the horizon. Clarifying the contractor liabilities/responsibilities under BSEE regulations; increasing access for offshore drilling activities; amending the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to perform inspections on a risk basis; and lifting the crude oil export ban were identified as actions the committee should consider while they work to develop new policies and legislation.

“The next three years are poised to be challenging for drilling contractors, particularly with the uncertainty regarding federal regulations and oil prices. According to EIA estimates, US crude oil production will continue to decline before resuming growth again in late 2016. What remains to be seen is how well industry will fare in the upswing as drilling contractors and operators attempt to implement costly and overly prescriptive regulations,” said Stephen Colville, IADC President and CEO.

In October, the US House of Representatives voted to repeal the crude oil export ban. In a statement, Mr Colville said, “The vote to repeal the outdated ban on exportation of crude oil is a win for the US, particularly as it has huge implications for job growth.”

At press time, the bill was under consideration by the US Senate.

US announces greater sage grouse does not require endangered species status

On 22 September, Sally Jewel, US Secretary of the Interior, announced that cooperative conservation efforts have spared the need to impose federal endangered species protections for the greater sage grouse.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service had contemplated a decision to list the greater sage grouse on the endangered species list and had until 30 September to review the status. Numerous federal agencies, the 11 states that include parts of the bird’s habitat, and dozens of public and private partners worked together on efforts to protect the sage grouse habitat, which overlaps with land that oil and gas interests have looked at for potential development.

IADC worked closely with allied trades in the western states for more than a year to advance efforts to keep the greater sage grouse off the Endangered Species List.

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