LABI Statement On Lifting The Deepwater Drilling Moratorium
(Baton Rouge, LA) — The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) announced this afternoon that, although the six-month deepwater drilling moratorium has been lifted six weeks early, the offshore drilling industry and the onshore industries it supports are still in peril.
“While the deepwater moratorium has now been lifted, significant new and yet-to-be-developed regulations will replace the total ban on drilling,” said Dan Juneau, LABI President. “With what shallow-water drillers have been experiencing since the new regulations were implemented in June, we have deep concern that the same negative effects will befall the deepwater rigs, similar to what we are seeing in the shallow waters,” he said.
Since June, only a handful of permits for new wells have been issued in the shallow-water operations, far below the number the Department of Interior has historically issued per month. The inability for the drillers to obtain permits in waters with depths less than 500 feet has resulted in a de facto moratorium on all Gulf of Mexico drilling and the stacking of many shallow-water rigs. “When a rig becomes inactive, workers become unemployed,” Juneau noted.
The industry, as well as the regulators themselves, is having difficulty understanding and complying with the new regulations. “If this permitting bottleneck continues, the deepwater drillers will likely see delays similar to those the shallow-water drillers have been experiencing the past four months. That will lead to further job losses and a reduction of economic activity at the worst possible time for Louisiana’s economy,” Juneau said.
About LABI: Founded in 1975, LABI is an association of over 3,500 member companies representing approximately 6,000 business women and men in the state. Approximately 80 percent of its members own or operate small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. All of LABI’s members share a common goal: to bring strategic focus to business issues before legislative, judicial and regulatory bodies in the state. LABI serves as the state chamber of commerce and manufacturing association, and is the administrative arm of the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (LACCE).