On Today’s Permit News
March 24, 2011
News broke today that the Obama administration issued a single deepwater permit to explore oil in the Gulf of Mexico. It should say something that this is considered news… something extraordinary… like Man Bites Dog.
It’s been 301 days since the Obama Administration imposed a six-month moratorium on offshore drilling, and 163 days since it “ended.” Now President Obama is making news for issuing the first new deepwater exploration permit. Yet while the Obama administration is calling reporters to tout a single permit, businesses are closing, employees are losing their jobs and the price of gasoline continues to rise.
Anyone who needs evidence of this need only read today’s Washington Post. Turn to page A19 and see what the Obama administration’s policies have wrought.
How to kill my company
By Randy Stilley
Last month, Seahawk Drilling declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced the sale of its assets to shallow-water driller Hercules Offshore. This devastating decision was the culmination of a long period in which we found our customers unable to secure permits for work in the Gulf of Mexico despite the fact that both our industry and our company have excellent safety records. In the 11 months after the Deepwater Horizon accident, it became clear that Seahawk’s greatest rival was no longer our industry competitors but the U.S. government.
The government’s drastic slowdown in the issuance of permits for shallow-water drilling operations — in which companies work in familiar geological formations, typically in less than 500 feet of water, mostly seeking to produce natural gas — has all but crippled the industry. The survivors (for now) like Hercules are staying afloat largely thanks to revenue from operations outside U.S. waters. Put another way, a once-proud industry born in the gulf during the Truman administration can no longer survive on operations in its own back yard.
You can read the full op-ed here, because you certainly won’t read about this in any White House press release.
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association