I watched the Fox Business Channel for most of the day on Monday because of an on-going story line that day. They sent a channel anchor, Liz Claman, out to an oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The drilling rig was in shallow water and it was "stacked". Stacked means it is not working.
You can find a video of one of Claman's live shots here: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4350794/exclusive-look-inside-offshore-oil-rig-/
The drilling rig was one of the Hercules' jack-up rigs about 3 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a victim of the Obama oil drilling moratorium. While the administration would like to sell the moratorium as one that only affects deep water oil drilling, it in fact affects all oil drilling. This moratorium affects shallow water drilling because the government is not issuing drilling permits as it should be doing. The issuing of permits is basically non-existent compared to the requests made and the need for offshore drilling.
Liz Claman did a fine job reporting on board of the Hercules 201. I was on board a Hercules drilling rig just like it in the late 1980's with the assistance of my husband, an engineer in the business. He brought me aboard a stacked rig in Galveston and I was able to take a tour of an oil drilling rig. My husband has worked for Hercules during his career, as he has for many other oil drilling companies. It was quite an experience for me at the time.
Claman wanted viewers to see the very real story of the effects of the oil drilling moratorium on the people in the industry. She interviewed the CEO of the company and he spoke of the business community's concerns. She interviewed workers who spoke of their own stories - families to support, concerns of losing jobs, distrust of governmental regulations coming down the pike, and of their responsible work records drilling in shallow water.
It is easy to speak of oil drilling and energy policy in general terms. It is easy to point to mistakes or terrible accidents. The fact is that the bad is rare and the history of oil drilling is one of success in the Gulf of Mexico. Continuing on with the moratorium talk is irresponsible by the Obama administration. Jobs have been lost for no real reason, other than overreaction for political gain. It has backfired and rigs are moving out of the Gulf of Mexico for opportunities overseas. These rigs, in all likelihood, will not return. This only increases our country's dependence on foreign oil, on oil purchased from those who do not have our best interests at heart. How smart is that?
Inspections of all deep water oil drilling rigs were performed immediately after the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. The district federal court has twice ruled that the federal moratorium is not just and must be lifted. The oil drilling companies, however, are unable to drill without permits. It is a no-win situation that prevents future planning.
It is past time for the Obama administration to make clear the moratorium will not be forced upon the oil drilling industry by them and allow our nation's energy needs to be met with the help of oil and natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico.