In early December, the US Senate confirmed Dan Brouillette as the next Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE). In response to the Senate confirmation, IADC President Jason McFarland said, “Secretary Brouillette has a successful history of supporting US energy, and is well suited for his new role at DOE. IADC and our members look forward to an open dialogue with DOE leadership and are able and willing to serve as an educative resource to those who wish to understand more about drilling rigs and how they operate and the complexities of our business.”
IADC and other trade groups recently provided recommendations to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) addressing the applicability of the Jones Act to oil and gas activities on the US Outer Continental Shelf. The opportunity to provide IADC’s insights comes after a year-long series of meetings with CBP, where IADC and other groups were able to articulate the variety of offshore activities that are not captured within the statutory authorities of the Jones Act. These meetings led to the latest CBP consultation, which has allowed for progress toward resolving long-standing questions about applying the Jones Act cabotage laws to offshore construction work and vessel equipment.
IADC hosted US Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in its Houston office on 10 January for a fundraising breakfast coordinated by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and supported by the IADC DRILLERSPAC, DEPA PAC and other participating contributors. The breakfast kicked off the quarterly meeting of the Liaison Committee of Cooperating Oil & Gas Associations, where member oil and gas groups from all over the US convene to collaborate on energy issues.
Members spent the meeting discussing both industrywide and region-specific challenges and left better equipped with common-sense solutions.
The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) announced in early January that oil production from the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) had exceeded 2 million barrels per day in August 2019. This followed on the heels of a record-setting year in 2018 for the entire Outer Continental Shelf, when a total of more than 640 million barrels were produced in federal waters. The increase in production in 2019 led to $2.34 billion more offshore royalty revenue for the Federal Treasury, and according to the US Energy Information Administration report, US GOM oil production will continue to set records through 2020.
On 1 January, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) global regulation to substantially reduce sulphur oxide emissions from ships, IMO 2020, came into effect. The global upper limit on sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil is reduced to 0.50% from 3.50% and is mandatory for all ships operating outside certain designated emission control areas, where the limit is already 0.10%.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, “For the past three years, IMO Member States, the shipping industry and fuel oil suppliers have been working tirelessly to prepare for this major change in the sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil, which will have significant positive benefits for human health and the environment.”