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June 9th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

Gulf residents fear oil industry will move to international waters

By Bob Ruff and Carol Costello, CNN

(CNN) – While the Obama administration has come up with new rules and regulations for shallow water drilling, it is not releasing any new rules when it comes to new deep water drilling until it figures out what happened with the BP disaster.

It has slapped a 6 month or more moratorium on new deep water drilling and that has the oil industry, lobbyists and some politicians ratcheting up efforts to change the president's mind. For all of these players, one area of special concern is Louisiana’s immense Port Fourchon. It spans 1400 acres and is designed to meet every need an oil company might have.

Chett Chiasson is the executive director of the port. He calls it the “Walmart of the oil and gas industry.” Chaissson is eager to criticize President Obama's 6 month moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf.

That moratorium is affecting 17 oil companies, including BP, Shell and Chevron. Every one of these oil company rigs is serviced by Port Fourchon, from welders to caterers, to those who "taxi" rig workers out to the platforms.

Chiasson told CNN that if the moratorium lasts more than six months, he fears “losing 50% of the business that we have in Port Fourchon.” That would mean, says Chiasson, that rigs would be moved overseas to places such as Brazil’s Santos Basin or South Africa’s Orange Basin, where deep water oil also has been discovered.

At least one oil company that does business in the Gulf, Anadarko Oil, told CNN that Port Fourchon's worry "is premature." But Anadarko did say this in a news release: "... We are evaluating opportunities to reallocate some of the 2010 capital from the Gulf to other areas of our global portfolio ..."

The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association is now posting videos of oil industry workers and family members on its Web site to exert pressure on President Obama to lift the moratorium. Here’s a sample:

"If the moratorium stays in place we will all suffer ..."
"Our economy will go to hell in a hand basket ..."
“If he [Pres. Obama] doesn’t lift the moratorium off our drilling, we’re worried about our jobs …”

Louisiana’s politicians are joining in. Republican Governor Bobby Jindal sent a letter to the president urging the "... federal government move quickly to ensure that all deep water drilling is in proper compliance ..."

Republican Senator David Vitter is pressing too. “I'm mad as hell at BP like all Gulf Coast residents are,” he told CNN, but to shut down every exploratory rig in deep water … and 120,000 jobs or so to boot, isn't punishing BP more, it's punishing the people of the Gulf Coast.

But the president, at least for now, is standing pat. He says he will not lift the moratorium until investigators figure out what happened with BP - if that takes less than 6 months, or more.

Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Pat

    Are you nuts? The deep water oil doesn't GO the the USA....

    It goes on the OPEN market.

    USA refineries BUY cheap DIRTY oil. (Today at $64.50/barrel)

    JAPAN, buys the expensive SWEET CRUDE at $71.99/barrel. That's GULF oil.

    Wise up and read the oil market reports –STOP regurgitating the PRESS RELEASE sent to you.

    June 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm |