Thursday, July 08, 2010

Force Majeure Continues In Gulf of Mexico Fallout

This article reports more oil drilling rigs falling victim to Force Majeure. As previously written here, those who have contracted drilling rigs are using this legal maneuver to avoid the rising costs of rigs going idle due to a deliberate backlog of permits and the moratorium put in place by the Obama administration.

Diamond Offshore reported that four operators have declared force majeure on drilling rigs under contract in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Devon and Murphy Oil have declared force majeure on semisubmersibles Ocean Endeavor and Ocean Confidence, while Chevron and Arena have declared force majeure on jackups Ocean Columbia and Ocean Scepter respectively.

The operators have said the drilling moratorium implemented by the U.S. government would prevent them from drilling in the Gulf.

The hits keep coming. And these are shallow stuff. Diamond resisted the push into deep water, resting on their Ocean American class rigs, capable of 4k feet and the deepest in the world until the Deepwater rigs were built.

Diamond has nine rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico, including five under contract for work in greater than 500 feet of water.

Last month, Cobalt Energy International declared force majeure on its contract for Diamond semi Ocean Monarch, also working in the Gulf of Mexico.

This announcement by NPR declares the 5th District three judge panel has denied the administration's plea to reinstate the moratorium struck down by the original ruling from the Federal Judge:

A federal appeals court in New Orleans has rejected the U.S. government's effort to keep a six-month deepwater drilling moratorium in place.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled soon after a Thursday afternoon hearing in a lawsuit filed by companies that oppose the drilling ban.

The Interior Department said the moratorium was necessary while it studied deepwater drilling risks in the wake of the BP oil spill.

The moratorium was previously struck down by a lower court on June 22.

The appeals court ruling found that the Interior Department failed to show the federal government would suffer "irreparable injury" if the ban isn't restored while it appeals the lower court's decision.

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