Drilling comeback in the Gulf of Mexico? Not exactly

posted at 8:36 pm on October 3, 2011 by Tina Korbe

News reports to the contrary, drilling in the Gulf of Mexico still hasn’t staged a full comeback from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and subsequent drilling moratorium, according to new research by Quest Offshore Resources, Inc.

Quest’s new analysis shows the number of floating rigs in the Gulf is down 37 percent from its pre-moratorium level. At the moment, just 21 floating rigs are operating in the GOM — and, of those, just 18 are actually drilling wells. Before the moratorium, 33 rigs were operational and 29 of those were actively drilling wells. Thanks to the moratorium, 11 rigs left the Gulf and just one has returned. The loss of those rigs translates into nearly 12,000 jobs lost.

Production levels, too, have suffered:

In 2010, companies produced about 1.54 million barrels of oil a day from the Gulf, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

A moratorium on deep-water drilling put in place in May 2010 and officially lifted in October hurt production. The U.S. will produce 1.43 million barrels of oil a day from the Gulf’s federal waters in 2011, according to projections from the Energy Information Administration. That’s 13.5% less than the 1.65 million barrels a day that the agency expected to produce this year in an estimate calculated just before the Deepwater spill.

Meanwhile, government permitting continues to lag. The rig count in the Gulf is expected to return to pre-moratorium levels by the middle of 2012, but that still won’t automatically equate to pre-moratorium activity or production levels. None of this detracts from the news of recent, significant oil discoveries, which will help to boost production levels again. But it does serve as an important reminder that the Gulf still has a long way to go. The facts also should help to ensure credit for the discoveries goes to the companies responsible for the finds and not to a government that has only grudgingly allowed activity to resume at all — a government that, even now, seeks to tighten government oversight of offshore drilling.


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Not to worry, PBHO has ordered that all oil rigs should be converted to start drilling for wind deposits.

Bishop on October 3, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Actually, Tina, Obama is a big supporter of oil exploration and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Just not by any U.S. companies.

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/18/good-news-obama-backs-off-shore-drilling/

VastRightWingConspirator on October 3, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Maybe one of his daughters should pop in while he’s shaving and ask if he’s stopped killing jobs yet.

malclave on October 3, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Seems Cuba, Venezuela, China and Brazil, among others, don’t seem to have any problem drilling in the Gulf.

coldwarrior on October 3, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Speaking of drilling, anyone notice the Hank Williams, Jr. song missing from the start of Monday Night Football?

(I didn’t, I’m at work). I just read that they won’t play the song anymore because he insulted Dear Leader.

reaganaut on October 3, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Cuba too: Cuba to Drill Six Oil Wells off Florida Coast

I’m sure they have safety standards at least as strict as ours.

slickwillie2001 on October 3, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Barry will get to $7-$8 gallon if it kills us.

GarandFan on October 3, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Speaking of drilling, anyone notice the Hank Williams, Jr. song missing from the start of Monday Night Football?

(I didn’t, I’m at work). I just read that they won’t play the song anymore because he insulted Dear Leader.

reaganaut on October 3, 2011 at 8:49 PM

They’re considering cancelling his choco ration completely.

Tsk tsk tsk

BobMbx on October 3, 2011 at 8:57 PM

The administartion is waiting for the election cycle to get into full swing before issuing any real permits. Then they can say “Look what we are doing for the economy!” hoping that the memory and attention span of the average voter is about the same as the average democrat. Meanwhile, we in the offshore industry are not working. Since I got off the Macondo site back in September of last year, I have been offshore twice. That really hurts the earning potential.

DAT60A3 on October 3, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Thanks Barry.

chewmeister on October 3, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Harrison J Bounel strikes again.

Rambotito on October 3, 2011 at 9:18 PM

My girlfriend in south Louisiana lost her house and her best friend had to pack up her 3-year-old son to follow the dad’s rig to Brazil.

A year later they still haven’t returned.

0bama can kiss my butt.

cane_loader on October 3, 2011 at 10:42 PM

VastRightWingConspirator on October 3, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Just a point about geography. The drilling off the coast of Brazil is in the Atlantic, not the Gulf of Mexico.

Petrobras is much more than an oil company. It is the sugar cane base ethanol company, and a petrochemical company. Baton Rouge based Shaw Group (it’s founder and major stockholder was head of the LA Dem Party during Gov. Blanco’s time & also the largest contractor of post Katrina emergency work) has the contract for engineering and construction for a new basic petrochemical plant in Brazil.

Another note is that Petrobras did in fact have a couple of leases to explore offshore Cuba and cancelled them last year as not being promising (after seismic surveys were conducted).

Kermit on October 4, 2011 at 12:30 AM

There is drilling at present, but not exploration. Wells are being drilled from production platforms with hydraulic self erecting rigs and are sidetracks from existing wells. The Amberjack platform (Stone Energy) has being constantly drilling for a year now with a number of new sidetracks in an existing field.

Kermit on October 4, 2011 at 12:33 AM

Cuba too: Cuba to Drill Six Oil Wells off Florida Coast

I’m sure they have safety standards at least as strict as ours.

slickwillie2001 on October 3, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Gee, I wonder if Obama and his EPA will kick Cuban @$$ if one of their oil wells springs a leak near the Florida Keys.

There are beautiful beaches down there–wouldn’t want anything to happen to them…

Steve Z on October 4, 2011 at 11:06 AM

America gets 18% of the revenue of each barrel produced from an offshore lease. If we needed the money it would be a source.

seven on October 4, 2011 at 11:57 AM