The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

New Estimates of the Moratorium's Economic Impact

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted July 20, 2010

Two separate studies indicate that tens of thousands of Gulf Coast jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth are likely to disappear as a result of the administration's deepwater drilling moratorium and the leaking well.

A report by Moody's Analytics shows the Gulf Coast region could lose 17,000 jobs and $1.2 billion in economic growth by the end of the year under a scenario in which the well is permanently shut-in in August. Under a worst-case scenario, the economic cost could reach $7.4 billion and more than 100,000 jobs could be lost if the well continues to leak and the moratorium lasts through December.

Marisa Di Natale of Moody's Analytics says Louisiana and Florida are likely to be the hardest hit. "We're talking about a very localized impact," she told reporters in a conference call. (BusinessWeek)

Another study, commissioned by the American Energy Alliance (AEA) and produced by Louisiana State University, predicts nationwide job losses of 12,000 in six months, growing to 36,000 during the next year. The cost to the U.S. economy is estimated at $2.8 billion, and the federal government would lose about $220 million in tax revenue.

"The moratorium could be more costly than the spill itself," said Dr. Joseph R. Mason, the author of the study. "By stifling one of the area's primary economic engines, the administration is crippling the local economy and risking long-term consequences."

The AEA study also examined the consequences of a permanent ban on all oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. Under this scenario, 400,000 jobs would be destroyed and economic losses would reach $95 billion nationwide. Simply put, the impact on the U.S. economy and the lives of all Americans could be devastating.

AEA's President and CEO Tom Pyle said the study makes one point very clear:

"We need to find ways to save U.S. energy jobs, not cut them...For the good of the families throughout the Gulf region and our nation's energy security, the Obama administration must lift the moratorium and get the Gulf back to work."