The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Today - March 10, 2011

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted March 10, 2011

The New Orleans Times-Picayune: Lawmakers push for extension of offshore drilling leases: A group of Gulf Coast lawmakers Wednesday proposed legislation that would extend offshore drilling leases for a year to give oil companies back the time they lost from the federal government's hold on virtually all offshore permitting since last year's BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "We are no longer living under a moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, but we are still struggling to live under a permitorium," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who joined Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, in announcing the bill introduction during a Capitol Hill news conference. "There has only been one lease issued -- not even for new production -- in almost a year in the deepwater. ... Giving back this time is simply a matter of fairness." Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said the offshore regulatory agency has notified operators that it will review requests for extensions "on a lease-by-lease basis." "We will not issue blanket suspensions," she said. The Wall Street Journal: U.S. to Issue 'Handful' of Drilling Permits: The Obama administration will issue a "handful" of deep-water oil-drilling permits the near future, a cabinet official said yesterday. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the permits would be coming as he faced more questions from U.S. lawmakers about pending applications to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. "We have in hand a number of other permits that we expect to issue very soon in the deep water," Mr. Salazar said at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. "These first permits hopefully will become a template allowing other deep-water permits to be issued." Mr. Salazar's comments came as the Obama administration appeals a ruling from a federal judge who has ordered it to act on pending permits. The administration has said it will comply with the judge's order to act on five pending applications by the end of next week, but has indicated the proposals are incomplete and that it could be forced to reject the permits if the judge does not give it more time. The administration is also disputing the court's authority to make such orders. The appeal will target "what I consider to be an overreach into administrative authority," Mr. Salazar said.

The Murray State News: Rising gas prices explained: Many of the University's commuter faculty, staff and students this semester are feeling pressure at the pump due to rising gas prices. In a document e-mailed to The News, titled "What's Up With Gasoline Prices", the American Petroleum Institute points out many factors for the rise in gas prices - the economic recovery being one of them. "Weak economic conditions in the U.S. and around the world in 2008 and into 2009 led to less demand which helped push prices down," the document states. "Now, with the worldwide economic recovery underway, demand is on the rise again and is helping to push prices higher. In addition to economic growth, crude and product prices are affected by a host of other factors including weather events, geopolitical risks, inventories, exchange rates and spare capacity."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rayola Dougher is senior economist at The American Petroleum Institute (API), where she analyzes information, manages projects and develops briefing materials on energy markets and oil industry policy issues. She is the author or co-author of economic research studies covering a diverse range of topics including crude oil and petroleum product markets, gasoline taxes, energy conservation and competition in retail markets. In addition to testifying before federal and state legislators, she has participated in numerous newspaper, radio and television interviews on a wide range of issues affecting the oil industry, including crude oil and gasoline prices, industry taxes and earnings, exploration and production, and refining and marketing topics.

Prior to joining API, Rayola worked at the Institute for Energy Analysis where her research focused on carbon dioxide related issues and international energy demand and supply forecasts. Rayola holds a Masters degree in Economic Development and East Asian studies from the American University and a degree in History and Political Science from the State University of New York at Brockport.