Obama: Drilling ban will hurt Louisiana economy

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, June 7 -- US President Barack Obama acknowledged during a June 4 meeting in New Orleans that a 6-month deepwater drilling moratorium would have adverse economic impacts on Louisiana. The president also said he would be willing to listen sooner if engineers and scientists develop methods and procedures that would effectively prevent another deepwater well blowout and rig explosion.

“When I made the decision to issue the moratorium, we knew that that would have an economic impact,” Obama said following a meeting with parish presidents and other government and business leaders. “But what I also knew is that there was no way that we can go about business as usual when we discovered that companies like BP, who had provided assurances that they had fail-safe backup, redundant systems, in fact, not only didn't have fail-safe systems, but had no idea what to do when those fail-safe systems broke down.”

Obama’s remarks came as he began his third US Gulf Coast visit since a BP PLC deepwater well blew out on Apr. 20, killing 11 people, destroying the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling rig, and setting off a massive oil spill. US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar ordered immediate inspections of other deepwater rigs as he prepared an initial report for the president which he submitted on May 27. It recommended that drilling in water deeper than 500 ft stop until the accident and spill could be fully investigated and new regulations developed.

Obama also formed an independent commission to investigate US offshore resource development policies and regulation as well as the accident and spill, cochaired by former Florida Gov. Bob Graham and former US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William K. Reilly.

When Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindahl and other government officials in the state expressed concern about a deepwater drilling moratorium’s economic impact, the president said on June 4, he told them what he told Graham and Reilly “which is, if they can front-load some of the analysis of what went wrong and how you would solve what has happened and what can happen, and you can do that more quickly than 6 months, then let me know. Don't hold the results of your review for 6 months, and then tell me. Tell me when you find out.”

‘Even worse impact’
Obama said he also emphasized that he would not tolerate corners being cut or investigators taking less time than they need “to do an accurate, independent job based on sound science because I do not want to see this thing repeated…. As difficult as it may be, it’s important for us to do this right. If we don’t, you could end up seeing an even worse impact on the oil industry down here, which is so important to so many jobs.”

Obama said everyone with whom he spoke said they wanted offshore oil and gas operations to be safe and future accidents and leaks avoided. “They did ask, can we do it faster,” he said, adding, “And what I said to them was the same thing that I said to Graham and Reilly, which is, you do it as fast as it takes to do it right.”

Obama also said federal officials have been assigned “to look over BP’s shoulder” and work with state and local officials to make certain damage claims are processed promptly, fairly, “and that BP is now lawyering up.”

He said the US Coast Guard and BP each have an official working directly with every Louisiana parish president so they can quickly relay word of any problems to Incident Comm. Thad W. Allen so he can respond quickly. “And we want to set that up not just in Louisiana, but in Alabama as well as in Florida,” he said. “We want county equivalents to have that same kind of representation and rapid response.”

“I don't have a problem with BP fulfilling its legal obligations,” Obama said. “But I want BP to be very clear: They’ve got moral and legal obligations here in the gulf for the damage that has been done. And what I don't want to hear is, when they’re spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money on TV advertising, that they’re nickel-and-diming fishermen or small businesses here who are having a hard time.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...

BHI: US oil rig count rises for first time in 30 weeks

07/02/2015 A sudden 12-unit jump in oil-directed rigs during the abbreviated week ended July 2 represented their first rise since Dec. 5, 2014, and helped lif...

FourPoint Energy to acquire Anadarko basin assets from Chesapeake

07/02/2015 FourPoint Energy LLC, a privately owned Denver company, plans to acquire oil and gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiaries Chesapeake Ex...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices plummet on crude inventory build, Iran deadline extension

07/02/2015 Oil prices plummeted more than $2/bbl July 1 to settle at a 2-month low on the New York market after a weekly government report showed the first ri...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

Shell makes FID on Appomattox deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

07/01/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has taken a final investment decision (FID) on the Appomattox deepwater development, authorizing construction and installatio...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected