Sunday, September 05, 2010

Oil Drilling Moratorium Saga Continues on Gulf Coast

As another accident involving the oil drilling and production process occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, west of the site of the BP oil spill, the alarmists jumped ugly. Leaning Left is a pre-requisite read to comparing the two recent oil drilling incidents. It is clear from the article that it is a different scenario. It is drilling vs production and it is shallow vs deep water environments. Add to that, the incident outside of Vermilion Bay occurred during construction, not during drilling operations. So, yes, nothing adds up to a comparison.

As the Times-Picayune’s David Hammer writes this morning, yesterday’s accident aboard Mariner Energy’s Vermilion 380 platform in the Gulf, which resulted in a fire it took several hours to put out, is being put forth as further evidence the offshore oil industry is out of control and needs to be curtailed if not ended.

And as Hammer notes, it takes some rather severe contortions to create equivalency between the Vermilion 380 accident and BP’s Deepwater Horizon nightmare. Contortions, it must be said, which only someone with a left-wing agenda would wish to practice.

Here is an article reporting of Louisiana Governor Jindal supporting an end to the job killing drilling moratorium.

There is no doubt in the minds of common sense Americans that the deep water drilling moratorium is a politically motivated, job killing action taken by this administration. As with the rest of his appointments, President Obama filled energy and interior department positions with far left, extreme elitists hell-bent on stopping oil drilling and production using our own country's natural resources. As it currently stands, America's crude oil imports exceed 60%. Where is our oil coming from? Mostly from countries that do not wish us well. At some point, oil production becomes a national security issue, too.

An issue of great concern is the federal government’s ability to effectively implement new rules and regulations. One of the roadblocks to complying with the new regulations set by the BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), formerly the MMS (Mineral Management Services), is the “worst case discharge” rule. Prior to the Deep Horizon blowout, a company requesting a permit to drill a well on the shelf (shallow water Gulf of Mexico) would have to provide proof that the company could respond to a worst-case scenario of 200%. In other words, to calculate this estimate a company must identify what would be the very most the well could blowout and then multiply that by 200%. The concluding estimate would then be what the company must be capable of responding to. The current rule is 200%, however, the BOEM’s new proposed rule for worst-case scenario response is 400%.

The 400% ruling is a deal killer for most all companies operating on the continental shelf. On a recent conference call the BOEM and a group of operators discussed the current issues concerning shallow water permitting. Specific to the conversation, operators asked the question to BOEM officials, “How did you come up with the number of 400%?” The BOEM official replied, “We did it internally. We got together and came up with 400%. We needed to do something and that’s what we did.”

So, while Congressmen with a leftist, anti-oil industry agenda continue on with crazy make-work project ideas like a desire to dismantle drilling platforms no longer in use, the true mission as they see it,is clear. Throw up every obstacle imaginable to squash oil exploration and drilling to appease the clueless, elitist environmentalists and hope to score votes in November. It is blatant and nasty political grandstanding.

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