Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Obama Offshore Drilling

Obama Offshore Drilling

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Obama Budges on Offshore Drilling

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Oil drillers in the Gulf of Mexico received a positive signal on Friday with the confirmation of Jacob Lew as President Obama’s new budget chief.

Lew’s confirmation as White House budget chief had been held up by the Louisiana Senate power tandem of Sens. Mary Landrieu (D., La.) and David Vitter (R., La.), who wouldn’t budge on the budget chief unless the Interior Department relented on its slow road to new offshore drilling permits.

The drilling ban was implemented after the BP(BP) Macondo oil spill.

The White House has maintained all along that the drilling ban has not hurt the Gulf economy greatly, and the industry has overhyped the issue. The White House issued a report earlier in the fall with data it said backed the case that the drilling ban was more or less benign, though Obama did end up lifting the ban early.

Even though the White House had lifted the ban on new drilling in October, oil and gas companies have complained that the permitting process has become a bureaucratic nightmare.

Oil players including BP oil-spill partner company Anadarko Petroleum(APC) have said all along that they were ready to go the second the offshore drilling ban was lifted, but even with the ban eliminated, oil and gas companies are venting frustration over the long arm of the government.

It’s having an impact not just on administrators trying to get permit applications through the government, but leading to comments from oil and gas drilling company CEOs about a permitting process that could impact earnings for quarters to come.

Landrieu had said she wouldn’t vote to confirm the new White House budget chief until she received assurance from the White House that the permitting pace would pick up.

source: Obama Budges on Offshore Drilling – TheStreet

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