The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

As "Alex" Grows, Skimmers Stop Work

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 29, 2010

The U.S. Coast Guard and BP sent oil skimming boats back to port this morning as Tropical Storm Alex gained strength and threatened to become the first Gulf hurricane of 2010.

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Although it remains south of the oil spill and is heading toward the Texas-Mexico border, it could cause high waves and force BP to delay its installation of a third oil containment unit. Officials say they need a few days of calm seas to connect the new unit to the well.

On Monday, several oil company executives and API met with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about the deepwater drilling moratorium and other spill-related issues. As we reported yesterday, the administration is asking a federal court to keep the ban in place by delaying a lower court ruling overturning the moratorium.

In recent days, several newspapers have commented on the moratorium in the editorial pages:

The Contra Costa Times is calling the moratorium "bad policy" and asks the government to help stop the leak and "combat environment damage." An editorial says:

"The failure of BP's deepwater rig has let loose an environmental disaster, but there is no evidence that other rigs pose an imminent danger. Nor is there any cause to conclude that a six-month moratorium would result in any significant improvement in drilling procedures."

The Advocate points out the impact of the deepwater moratorium on shallow-water exploration. Quoting Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Dan Juneau, the newspaper writes:

"...no shallow drilling permits have been issued since the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Juneau said 16 shallow-water rigs have already been idled and the number could double in the next month's time."

And The Times recently published an op-ed from John Hofmeister, former CEO of Shell Oil Company, who writes:

"So what about deepwater drilling?..Forty years of drilling and 35,000 successful well in the Gulf of Mexico speak for themselves. Technology, equipment, processes and systems are safe, but for human error. So it would be folly t discontinue or even suspend it...."

The oil and natural gas industry's top priority is to provide energy as safely as possible. Further, the industry intends to use any findings from the accident investigations to continue to improve its technologies and practices and to take the necessary steps to prevent accidents like the Deepwater Horizon from occurring again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.