Let’s get drillers back to work! Op-ed in Hou Chronicle #rsrh

Link: Let’s get drillers back to work! Op-ed in Hou Chronicle #rsrh

Clipped from www.chron.com

Let’s get drillers back to work

By MARTY DURBIN
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

The White House oil spill commission has now issued its report on the tragic Macondo well accident last spring, which took the lives of 11 men and women in the U.S. oil and natural gas industry. Though the accident was unprecedented, the industry understood that it demanded a comprehensive, fresh look at safety and a commitment to follow through with improvements. For the past eight months, that has been our top priority.

However, we strongly disagree with the report’s conclusion that the accident revealed systemic safety problems in the industry. These allegations are at odds with the facts, which show an improving offshore safety record. They also are an unfair criticism of the men and women in the offshore industry who take their own safety and that of their co-workers very seriously.

The moratorium on deep-water drilling technically ended last October. Yet not a single deep-water drilling permit has been issued since. Some deep-water rigs are leaving the Gulf. We’ve been told by the Interior Department that permitting may never get back to the levels before the accident. We’ve also learned that 2011 may see no new offshore leasing, and the department is scaling back its next five-year offshore leasing plan.

Thousands of jobs have disappeared already. Revenue and energy production will be increasingly affected. The Energy Department says that new government policies in the Gulf will produce a cumulative production drop of 482 million barrels of oil from 2011 to 2018. That’s about $50 billion of oil we will have to find elsewhere. It also translates to a decline in taxes, royalties and other revenue to government of more than $14 billion, which would cover the cost of our federal school lunch program.

We can have safety, energy production and the jobs it creates. Our vigilance on safety must and will continue. But progress has been made, we are safer today, and our commitment to safe operations and further improvements is strong. It’s clearly time for our industry to be back at work producing the energy our nation needs.

Durbin is executive vice president of the American Petroleum Institute.

Read more at www.chron.com

 
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