The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Industry meets final requirement for drilling to resume

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted February 17, 2011

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry has completed the final requirement necessary to return to production in the Gulf, with today's news that the industry-led Marine Well Containment Company had completed testing.

"The oil and natural gas industry's more than 60-year history of safely drilling more than 42,000 offshore wells, our unprecedented response to last year's Gulf accident, our ongoing efforts to raise the bar on safety standards, and our record of workplace safety, all speak to our commitment to safety," I said in a statement earlier today.

"The readiness of the Marine Well Containment Company and the systems necessary to respond to a deepwater drilling incident, show this industry has met every requirement for resuming operations in the Gulf and is ready to get back to work providing the energy this country needs," I added.

Earlier this month, in a letter to oil and natural gas company CEO's, BOEM Director Michael Bromwich wrote: "The most critical missing piece in the process of approving applications for permits to drill in deep water is the demonstration of well control and subsea containment capability." As recently as five days ago, during a speech in Houston, Bromwich indicated that offshore production could move forward, once containment technologies were in place, saying, "This containment issue, which has attracted a great deal of attention in recent weeks, is the principal issue that has delayed our ability to issue deep water permits ... and I am confident that this capacity will be demonstrated soon."

The Marine Well Containment Company announced today it has successfully completed testing of its system's capability in 8,000 feet of water and capturing 60,000 barrels a day. These are the requirements set out by the "Notice to Lessees N10," according to API.

"Every day that goes by without production in the Gulf, means that a U.S. worker sits onshore, while workers in other countries produce the resources we will use here at home," I said in a statement. "And, as the millions of oil and natural gas industry workers watch as their industry waits for Washington to decide their fate, millions of workers whose jobs are supported by the U.S. energy industry wonder when the impacts will roll through the U.S. economy."

The Marine Well Containment Company joins other proven systems that are ready to provide drilling safeguards for oil and natural gas companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

API represents more than 450 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America's energy, supports more than 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.5 percent of the U.S. economy, and, since 2000, has invested nearly $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jack N. Gerard is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. He also has served as the president and CEO of trade associations representing the chemical and mining industries. Jack understands how Washington works. He spent several years working in the U.S. Senate and House, and co-founded a Washington-based government relations consulting firm. A native of Idaho, Jack also is very active in the Boy Scouts of America, a university graduate program on politics, and his church’s leadership. He and his wife are the proud parents of eight children, including twin boys adopted from Guatemala.