What Now for Energy and the Gulf?
LSU hosts industry leaders for insights on the post-spill situation
BATON ROUGE – On Tuesday, amidst the fallout of the deepwater drilling moratorium, Louisiana State University’s Center for Energy Studies hosted its annual summit. This year’s topic was “Deep Exploration and the Future of the Gulf of Mexico,” and the approximately 80 attendees participated in what the organizer, David Dismukes, described as a “forward-looking discussion.”
James Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners, a DC-based consulting firm, gave the first of eight presentations, his being on the political realm of energy investment. Although his outlook was pessimistic in terms of administrative and legal battles for industry, he did not predict anything like an end of the Gulf oil industry.
“There is really no doubt that the quantity of the resource, the scale of the resource, is sufficiently attractive to keep the major companies there. And also, frankly, they’d much rather deal with the United States, even in the current chaotic situation.”
In his view, major energy legislation “will be very difficult for the next two years.” Narrow majorities in Congress would leave little opportunity for partisan legislation, and he believes Obama suffered a “missed opportunity” by failing to pass relevant legislation after the Deepwater Horizon spill. So the battle will be over administrative mandates, similar to that of the two deepwater moratoriums.
Regarding the moratorium, the presenters appeared to be unanimous in their disapproval, and Carl Rosenblum, of the Jones Walker law firm, gave a precise run-down. He outlined the order of the events and attacked what he viewed as dishonest actions on the part of federal officials. He argued that the executive branch had not obeyed their own appointed experts, and then that they lied about what their experts had said. Additionally, he asserted that Ken Salazar, secretary of the Department of the Interior, had used delay tactics to circumvent Judge Martin Feldman’s decision to strike down the moratorium.