POSTED: Saturday, March 24, 2012 - 4:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, March 24, 2012 - 4:04am
BATON ROUGE, LA — Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Scott Angelle on Friday announced that the number of rigs operating in the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) waters off Louisiana’s coast has reached 40 in the most recent weekly count – the first time rig activity has reached 40 since the week before federal regulators declared a months-long ban on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in late May 2010.
The current count of 40 rigs drilling in Louisiana OCS waters, is up three from the previous week, up 17 from the 23 active rigs that were operating in the area at the same time last year – an increase of 74 percent. The average count of rigs running during the three months prior to the federal moratorium that was declared lifted in October 2010, was about 42. In the weeks that followed the declaration of the moratorium, that rig count fell as low as 11.
Louisiana OCS rig counts averaged in the mid-20s for most of 2011, reaching a peak of 36 in the last week of the year. Since the first week of 2012, the weekly Louisiana OCS rig counts have averaged about 35.
“As we hear the good news that exploration activity in the Gulf OCS is once again approaching the levels we last saw two years ago, it is gratifying to know that Louisiana’s efforts have resulted in progress in restoring the role the offshore energy industry plays in offering opportunities to grow our economy and provide jobs for our workers,” Angelle said. “But there remains work to be done to fully utilize the potential of OCS as a producer of energy, driver of economic development and engine for job creation – and we are committed to finishing the job we started.”
Angelle noted that a recent Gulf OCS discovery by Anadarko brings the potential for new domestic production of the equivalent another 200 million to 400 million barrels of oil, and that the acting director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), recently stated that oil production from the Gulf of Mexico will be the long-term mainstay for domestic oil supplies.
Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2010, designated Angelle to lead the Back-To-Work Coalition, an association of Gulf exploration stakeholders that has worked, and continues to work, to help both federal regulators and the industry find a regulatory middle ground that ensures safe and responsible operations while allowing development of the resources that provide domestic energy and domestic jobs.
“We knew from early on that we would not achieve our goals without strong partners outside state government to make sure that government at all levels and the private sector had a clear understanding of what each needed from the other. Our partners in the Back-to-Work Coalition and the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) have done the work to help us bridge gaps in understanding between regulators and industry, and I thank them for that effort, and I know that they share our commitment to continue to push forward,” Angelle said.