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BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich Misleads Lawmakers, Nation on New Drilling Well Progress in the Gulf

May 18, 2011

Testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday, Michael Bromwich admitted to Senator Landrieu (D-La.) that his agency had issued only one permit in the last 13 months to drill a new exploratory well in the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to their exchange, he told lawmakers that BOEMRE “permitted 14 unique deepwater wells.”

Speaking to Mr. Bromwich, Senator Landrieu (D-La.) said:

“Based on a chart I got from your website—this is not my website—it says ‘zero’, ‘zero’, ‘zero’, ‘zero’ for deepwater wells in 2011. It doesn’t say ‘one’. It doesn’t say ‘two’. It doesn’t say ‘fourteen’. It says ‘zero’.”

See for yourself:

While Mr. Bromwich admitted that the 14 deepwater wells were “all previously permitted” for drilling more than year ago, he later corrected himself. (On March 30, BOEMRE granted its first deepwater drilling permit for a new well to Shell Offshore. None has been issued since.)

We should all be worried that the lead regulator of offshore drilling — Mr. Bromwich — is confused as to the number of new exploratory wells permitted by his agency. Is it that difficult to remember ‘one’?

Prior to Senator Landrieu’s pressing questions, Mr. Bromwich told lawmakers that, “We’ve actually permitted [14] unique deepwater wells on the average of about once every four to five business days. That’s not a significantly slower pace than has historically been the case.”

How does he sleep at night? Seriously.

Jim Adams

Jim Adams
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association

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