Scuttlebutt - the latest insights from OMSA

OMSA Statement in Response to Salazar’s Testimony

March 2, 2011

Statement from Jim Adams, President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association

OMSA Urges Robust Oil Exploration Program In Gulf—Not Obama Administration Lip-Service

(New Orleans, Louisiana) — March 2, 2011 — “Testifying today before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar once again paid lip-service to growing concerns about his department’s failure to approve permits for deepwater oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. In reality, Secretary Salazar has approved just one deepwater exploration permit in the past nine months — and that happened only after a federal judge found the Obama Administration in contempt of court and ordered the Interior Department to start approving permits again,” said Jim Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association.

“In response to questions about the Administration’s de facto moratorium on deepwater drilling, Secretary Salazar had the temerity to claim that, ‘We have a robust oil and gas program even in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill . . . .’ The only thing robust about the Administration’s oil and gas program has been its campaign against deepwater oil exploration in the Gulf,” Adams continued.

“Tens of thousands of Gulf workers are tired of the Administration’s empty words. We want action. We want to get back to work now. Gas prices are skyrocketing, America is becoming more dependent on foreign oil, and families are suffering. If President Obama truly cared about jobs and energy independence, he would lift his de facto moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. One permit is not enough.”OMSA Urges Robust Oil Exploration Program In Gulf

OMSA represents the owners and operators of U.S. flag offshore service vessels and the shipyards and other businesses that support that industry.

Jim Adams

Jim Adams
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association


First Deepwater Drilling Permit Is a Good Start, But Much More Needs To Be Done

March 1, 2011

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) on Monday approved the first deepwater drilling permit in almost a year. That’s welcome news, but the timing is certainly interesting … coming just two days before Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar is scheduled to defend his budget before a Senate panel, and less than two weeks after a federal judge ordered the U.S. Interior Department to take action on permit applications.

I’m guessing it’s not a coincidence.

The Obama Administration has dug in its heels for months to maintain its de facto moratorium on oil drilling. We’ve only seen the Administration budge under considerable pressure from Congress—and direct orders from a federal court.

On Feb. 17, Judge Martin Feldman ordered the BOEMRE to act on five pending permit applications within 30 days and report its compliance to the court.

“As the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster draws near, any reason that would have justified delays has, under a rule of reason, expired,” Judge Feldman wrote. “Beginning to process permit applications will restore normalcy to the Gulf region and repair the public’s faith in the administrative process.”

The permit approved Monday was one of the permits involved in that litigation. So while White House officials were quick to pat themselves on the back for approving this permit, they’re only following a judge’s order and doing their jobs.

Now if we could just get them to keep doing their jobs and move on more than 100 deepwater development plans stuck in the pipeline. These plans haven’t even been cleared to become eligible for a permit. Yes, we still have a long way to go.

Following is the statement released February 28:

Statement from Jim Adams, President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association

First Deepwater Drilling Permit Is a Good Start, But Much More Needs To Be Done

(New Orleans, Louisiana) — February 28, 2011 — “The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), representing thousands of Americans providing essential services to domestic energy production, welcomes today’s announcement that the Obama Administration has approved the first deepwater drilling permit in nearly a year. But granting a single permit will have no practical impact on the thousands of workers left idle by the White House’s de facto moratorium on deepwater oil drilling,” said Jim Adams, president and CEO of OMSA.

Mr. Adams continued, “It’s puzzling that the administration claims to be acting ‘diligently’ and yet only seems to act when forced by Congress or the courts. A federal judge has held the Obama administration in contempt and ordered it to start acting on applications for drilling permits. It’s notable that the permit approved today was involved in that litigation.

“Much more is needed, and soon. There are over 100 deepwater development plans that have yet to be cleared to even become eligible for a permit,” Adams said.

“Stopping all permits, and then approving a single one, only prolongs the suffering of

thousands of workers and their families,” continued Adams. “It’s a manufactured energy crisis for Americans, who are stuck paying skyrocketing gasoline prices.”

Mr. Adams concluded, “President Obama and White House officials claim that the moratorium on deepwater drilling is over. But Americans know a moratorium when they see one, and approving a single permit doesn’t change that.”

OMSA represents the owners and operators of U.S. flag offshore service vessels and the shipyards and other businesses that support that industry.

Jim Adams

Jim Adams
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association


Why Doesn’t President Obama Respond?

February 25, 2011

The price of oil on international markets is trading at two and half year highs.

Gas prices at the pump have already soared past $4/gallon.

Unrest is spreading throughout the volatile oil producing regions of the Middle East and at the same time the emerging economies of China, India, and Brazil are increasing their demand for more and more petroleum.

What’s the response from Washington?

Three Congressional Democrats say let’s tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

And what about President Obama?  We can “ride out” the price spike he says.

Well, down here on the Gulf Coast we’re riding out the worst man-made economic catastrophe in memory.  We’re also sitting on one of the biggest reserves of domestic oil in the country and the Obama Administration refuses to let energy producers explore for it, let alone tap it.

Why—when the demand for oil is so high and the dangers of dependence on foreign oil so abundantly clear—is President Obama so doggedly committed to curbing domestic oil development?

Is it because he is being advised by people like Energy Secretary Chu who once said,  “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe“?

Could it be because the president believes oil and gas is “the energy of the past”?

Or is it that he truly believes that “millions of jobs” will be created once we transition to clean energy and that we should “accelerate that transition”, as he said in his first Oval Office address to the nation?

President Obama’s de facto moratorium on Gulf of Mexico oil exploration is killing jobs on the Gulf Coast leaving thousands of Americans to “ride out” the Great Recession. It’s also threatening our energy security—and therefore our national security—and a time when revolution and instability are sweeping the Mideast and North Africa.

Whatever the real reason, you can remind President Obama that there is a better solution than “riding out” oil price spikes and political turmoil.

We can resume domestic oil production in the most promising and advantageous oil fields in America and put the Gulf Coast back to work.

Add your name to our open letter to the president.

Jim Adams

Jim Adams
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association


OMSA Statement on Congressional Hearings

February 24, 2011

One week ago, OMSA sent a letter on behalf of the tens of thousands of offshore marine service employees and their families to President Obama protesting his war on domestic energy exploration and development. It generated a flurry of media attention that has been sustained because of the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

In the days that followed, a bipartisan group of Gulf Coast lawmakers, led by Houston Democrat Gene Green, petitioned Congress to take a close look at whether federal regulators are moving too slowly in vetting offshore drilling proposals. The lawmakers asked leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to convene a hearing on the permitting issue, given that gas prices are on the rise, jobs tied to offshore drilling have already been lost and rigs are moving out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Yesterday, House Republicans announced that the Natural Resources Committee will hold a series of public hearings about permitting. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will testify at a March 3 hearing, followed by testimony from Michael Bromwich before the committee on March 30. On March 16, the committee will hear testimony from Sam Giberga on behalf of OMSA and Hornbeck on the affects of the de facto moratorium.

To show our support for lawmakers taking a leadership position to end the President’s de facto moratorium, we issued a statement to the media, members of the House Natural Resources Committee and to Congressional GOP press secretaries. Following is that statement:

Statement from Jim Adams, President and CEO
Offshore Marine Service Association

OMSA Applauds House Natural Resources Committee Hearings on President Obama’s  De Facto Moratorium in the Gulf

(New Orleans, Louisiana) — February 24, 2011 — “The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), representing thousands of Americans providing essential services to domestic energy production, stands firmly in support of bipartisan efforts by the Members of the House Natural Resources Committee to hold public hearings on the Obama Administration’s de facto moratorium on deepwater oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Jim Adams, president and CEO of OMSA.

“The Obamatorium is a self-inflicted energy crisis for America. It is an unlawful policy that is actively costing jobs, putting countless more in immediate jeopardy, contributing to skyrocketing fuel prices and making our country more dependent on Middle East oil.  It is time Congress investigated the Obama Administration’s destructive policy and exposed the egregious and ongoing harms and to hold the Administration accountable for causing it.”

“OMSA issued a public letter to the President earlier this month with some basic questions about the policy and has yet to receive either an acknowledgment or a reply,” Adams said. “The hard-working people in our business deserve answers and so do the American people.”

To read OMSA’s letter to the President, click here.

Jim Adams

Jim Adams
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association


Scuttlebutt 2 – February 17, 2011

February 17, 2011

Thursday marked a tremendous day of progress in our battle against President Obama’s de facto moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Key developments came on three fronts:

1. Our organization announced a national campaign to demand President Obama stop destroying jobs and allow deepwater oil drilling to resume in the Gulf of Mexico. Our campaign, which will include advertisements, videos and public outreach, kicked off with an open letter to President Obama. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to add your signature to the letter and leave a comment for the President.

2. A federal judge ordered the U.S. Interior Department to take action on permit applications for drilling in the Gulf. The ruling came just two weeks after the same judge held the Interior Department in contempt of court for holding up deepwater permits in the Gulf. Yes, it was déjà vu all over again, with the federal courts ordering the Obama Administration to obey the law and do its job (just as all Americans are expected to do).

3. The Marine Well Containment Company announced completion of an initial spill containment system that will provide rapid response capabilities in the event of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

As a number of bloggers have noted (here and here), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has indicated that the lack of such a system was holding up deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico. Now that the system exists and has been successfully tested, industry groups are hopeful that the agency will soon issue long-awaited permits to drill.

Companies have been sidelined long enough. By the Obama Administration’s own criteria—not to mention a federal judge’s order—the de facto moratorium should end now. We’re ready to get back to work.

Jim Adams

Jim Adams
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association


Scuttlebutt 1 – February 17, 2011

February 17, 2011

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine told me, “Your members must be really busy now that Obama has lifted the drilling moratorium.”

I would have been shocked, but it wasn’t the first time I heard this. In fact, I hear it everywhere I go. For months, President Obama has been telling Americans that he has lifted the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. In reality, deepwater drilling rigs have been idle for nearly a year because the President won’t permit energy exploration and development to resume. But you’d never know it from what he has been saying.

That’s why we’re launching a national public education campaign. We think it’s important that Americans know that President Obama is not telling us the truth, and that we’re all suffering for it. Thanks to the President’s de facto moratorium, gasoline prices are rising, jobs are being lost and our nation is growing even more dependent on foreign oil.

We simply cannot afford what the President is doing to the Gulf, and to all of America.

Please read our Open Letter to the President. I encourage you to sign the letter if you want to put Americans back to work, stabilize gas prices, and make our nation less reliant on foreign sources of energy.

We wish this campaign weren’t necessary. Our members would much rather be really busy now, doing something productive in the Gulf. With your help, we’ll all be working again soon.

Jim Adams

Jim Adams
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association