HOUSTON, 7 July, 2010 – Texas Congressmen Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, and Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, promised to support the energy industry and fight the Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium. They rallied the nearly 300 gathered in a July 7 town hall meeting called by the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) to take their message to the people.
IADC 2010 Chairman Louis Raspino, Pride International, urgently noted: “The small businesses that hold the big players together can’t afford six months of no revenue. … In a very short period of time, we’re going to see this industry implode. That’s the message we’re bringing to Washington.”
The Congressmen warned those gathered not to rely on their leadership but to get involved in the process individually and to educate others as well.
“The energy industry has been demonized for years. It’s not just because people don’t understand it. It’s because there’s no political price for damaging your industry,” Cong. Brady said. “They don’t see energy workers – they just see energy executives. So they feel free to undercut the two million workers in this industry because they don’t think they have any energy workers in their districts.”
Cong. Olson noted that the drilling moratorium will do nothing to make deepwater drilling any safer, yet will do everything to damage the US economy. He warned the industry about an oil spill bill in the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee that would, among other things, repeal the $75 million liability limit on offshore facilities. As a member of that committee, Congressman Brady proposed an alternative that would consider the risks of each rig separately, and include well depth, well pressures and the operator’s safety record, among other factors.
“I know this is not an ideal solution, but it’s a more reasoned approach than doing away with the liability limits that would effectively squeeze out small operators, leaving room for only the big ones. … I’m committed to making sure that we have a bill that does not kill more jobs or harm the industry even further,” Olson said.
IADC recently formed the Deepwater Coalition, which is working with Congressional members to help them understand industry actions to improve safety and the dire economic implications of a deepwater drilling moratorium.
In addition to the Congressmen, two technical experts described their involvement with the government’s safety recommendations for the industry. Both Moe Plaisance, Diamond Offshore, and Tom Williams, Nautilus International, felt their work on separate committees had been misused to support a moratorium when that was not what their groups had recommended.
Plaisance led one of two work groups under the Joint Industry Task Force formed by IADC and the American Petroleum Institute that was to provide recommendations to Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar on how existing equipment could be used to improve offshore safety. He is hoping to draft safety recommendations before the interim final rule is issued—likely within the next 90 days.
Williams advocated political pressure on the White House, in addition to Congress, to oppose the moratorium.
IADC is dedicated to enhancing the interests of oil-and-gas and geothermal drilling contractors worldwide. IADC’s contract-drilling members own most of the world’s land and offshore drilling units and drill the vast majority of the wells that produce the planet’s oil and gas. IADC’s membership also includes oil-and-gas producers, and manufacturers and suppliers of oilfield equipment and services. Founded in 1940, IADC’s mission is to improve industry health, safety and environmental practices; advance drilling and completion technology; and champion responsible standards, practices, legislation and regulations that provide for safe, efficient and environmentally sound drilling operations worldwide. IADC holds Accredited Observer status at the International Maritime Organization and the International Seabed Authority, specialized agencies of the United Nations. The Association is a leader in developing standards for industry training, notably its Well Control Accreditation Program (WellCAP)® and rig-floor orientation program, RIG PASS®. IADC is headquartered in Houston and has offices in Washington D.C., the Netherlands, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as chapters in the UK, Venezuela, Brazil, Australasia, South Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and across the United States. For more information, visit the IADC website at www.iadc.org.