The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Secure our Energy Future

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 7, 2010

Editor's note: In a Washington Post Planet Panel blog post, API President and CEO Jack Gerard discussed the latest Deepwater Horizon spill response and cleanup updates, and the need for industry and government to focus on identifying the cause of the accident and working together to secure our energy future. Jack's comments are below:

The loss of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was a tragic accident. While our thoughts and prayers remain with the workers and their families, as well as our neighbors along the Gulf coast, our efforts are focused on stopping the leaks and preventing or mitigating the oil's potential impact on the environment.

This accident--and the massive response to the spill--are unprecedented.

As of today (May 7):

  • 8,497 personnel are involved in response efforts both onshore and offshore;
  • More than 2,500 volunteers have been trained to assist in the response;
  • 256 vessels are in place and continuing recovery efforts;
  • 876,836 feet of boom barrier is deployed to contain the spill and another 1.3 million feet of boom is available;
  • Nearly 1.9 million gallons of oil/water mix has been recovered; and
  • Ten staging areas have been established to protect shorelines.

In time, investigations will determine the cause of the explosion and fire, and the industry will take the steps necessary to prevent a similar accident from occurring again. To that end, the industry has formed two task forces to review offshore equipment and technology as well as operating procedures. The industry looks forward to working closely with the government with the ultimate goal of improving offshore safety and environmental protection.

Using this accident as an excuse to turn back the clock on offshore drilling would be short-sighted. Every credible projection shows the United States will need more oil and natural gas for decades to come.

At present, offshore energy development accounts for 30 percent of the nation's oil production and about 11 percent of its natural gas production. If offshore energy development were ceased, the United States would become increasingly dependent on energy from other countries, thus reducing U.S. energy security and increasing the trade deficit.

It also would have a devastating impact on jobs. At any one time, 35,000 U.S. workers are working on rigs and platforms offshore. The livelihoods of many thousands of other workers who produce steel, equipment, and provide transportation and supplies also would be affected. A recent study shows 9.2 million U.S. workers are employed or supported by the activities of the oil and natural gas industry.

This is not the time for finger pointing and hasty policy decisions. Industry and government should focus on identifying the cause of the accident and work together to secure our energy future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.